Matthew’s Chocolates is moving, but just across the street.
The chocolate shop, which opened on owner Matt Shepherd’s birthday on Nov. 21, 2007, will make the haul from 107 N. Churton St. to 104 N. Churton St. This building one held Bona Fide Sandwich Co.
The bold blue building with yellow accents will soon open as Matthew’s Chocolates before the end of March. Shepherd does not anticipate closing the store during the move.
Once moved and situated, Shepherd plans to brighten up the space to attract passersby. Two flower boxes will be added to each second-story window and the outside will be painted a new color.
This new space, a building Shepherd has worked across the street from for 12 years, will offer a kitchen and store front under one roof, as Matthew’s Chocolates has previously operated out of the downtown storefront and a kitchen space in Daniel Boone Village.
Along with the relocation, Shepherd hopes to ramp up his online presence so he can rely less on profits from in-store customers.
“We’re going to cut back on the number of different things that we make and focus on fewer items,” he said. “We’re going to try and reflect what’s online as the same thing we sell in the shop so we can fill online orders a little bit easier and we won’t run out [of product] as much if we’re making more of a few things versus so many different thing.”
The consolidation of a kitchen and shop prompted the move, but Shepherd is still unsure if the new location will garner more foot traffic than his current spot directly across the street.
The 2018 holiday season, which is usually the busiest and more profitable time of year for Matthew’s Chocolates, was a bust. According to Shepherd, holiday profits dropped over 30 percent compared to the year before.
“There’s just no customers here anymore,” he said. “I’m basically making the move so I can have more of an online presence and not have to rely so much on people coming in the door.”
On weekends, customers visit the shop regularly, Shepherd said, but throughout the weekdays, the customer base is “nonexistent.”
He attributes the decline in customers to the sidewalk expansion and resurfacing projects that resulted in heavy construction and lane closures throughout downtown for several months.
“All the businesses are trying to figure out what to do,” he continued. “We’re all struggling.”
He’s hoping new projects at the new location will bring more people in the door.
Though the first floor will be complete with cases full of high-quality chocolate truffles, barks, and clusters, Shepherd hopes the renovation of the second floor will offer something new for Matthew’s Chocolates.
He calls with second floor project “phase 2,” and notes that it will be a while before the project can begin.
“We’re also considering opening at 7 [a.m.] with quiche, muffins, biscuits and sandwiches,” he said.
But for now, Shepherd is designing how his furniture and cases will be placed in the new location.
The hours in the meantime will stay the same: Tuesday-Thursday, 12 to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 12 to 10 p.m.; Sundays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and closed Mondays.
As for the gelato, Shepherd ensures it will remain.