The much-beloved Chocolate House of Ann Arbor ended its six-year run on Main Street Friday, which was marked by the grand opening of its chocolate-oriented successor, Carillon Chocolates.

The event, which featured an assortment of free dessert samples and coffee from 9 a.m. to midnight and a live band from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., drew a crowd of about 300 people, according to owner Alex Molnar.

“We’d been planning on a grand opening for a while, but it seemed like a good time to have it,” Molnar said. He added that he did not plan the date of the grand opening to coincide with Mayor John Hieftje’s Green Fair and the Bike Fest — two events that also took place on Main Street on Friday.

Though the Chocolate House now boasts a new name, Molnar said he plans to maintain many of the same sweet selections, specializing in chocolates, coffee and ice cream.

Molnar said that the difference between his store and the previous store is the quality of the products.

“We’re going to sell most of the same stuff, just higher quality,” Molnar said, adding that he plans to make most of the products in the store, unlike The Chocolate House.

“Our equipment here is limited to how much we can make here, but our goal is to make 90 percent of what we sell here ourselves — in terms of chocolate,” Molnar said. “Some point in the future, we might try to make our own ice cream.”

But Molnar said that one of the main reasons he opened the store was because of family history, in addition to its ideal location in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor. Molnar is a nephew of the store’s previous owners and had worked at The Chocolate House while it was still in operation over a year ago.

“Working here, I saw a lot of room for improvement,” Molnar said, referencing how he designed three different categories of pricing for chocolates. He said that the previous owners used to price chocolates at varied prices, which made weighing and pricing them a very time-consuming process.

He added that his aunt and uncle were unable to maintain the store because of their other jobs.

“Even though (the previous owners) liked running the shop, and they were sad to sell it, it became more and more work than their other jobs, especially with the recession,” Molnar said. “It just wasn’t profitable for them to work 50 hours a week.”

Molnar said another factor in his decision to open the store was its ideal location in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor.

He added that his store is different from other dessert stores in the city offering similar products because Carillon Chocolates is “the only independent chocolate shop reigning in Ann Arbor.”

“I know Kilwin’s is Ann Arbor-based, but they have chains up in Florida,” he said.

Molnar added that his store also boasts a quaint charm that’s unique to Ann Arbor.

“The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory — it’s a nice store — but all the floors are white and corporately designed.”

Molnar said he thinks his store has an edge over his competitors and “can tailor products and the atmosphere of the store to local tastes.”

“The goal is to be more focused on the local community and be an Ann Arbor institution,” Molnar said, adding that the client-base is geared toward the people residing in Ann Arbor.

By catering to young professionals, students and locals, Molnar said he hopes tourists will be attracted to his business.

“We really want to focus on these locals,” Molnar said. “If we cater to locals, the out-of-towners are going to come.”

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