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This New West spot will soon be part chocolate shop and part chocolate kitchen

New West's Origins Chocolate Bar and Port Moody’s award-winning Cocoaro Craft Chocolate are coming together to mould your next fave chocolate spot

Two chocolate companies are teaming up to sell a variety of delicious treats in a shared space in downtown New West — everything from chocolate flights to hot chocolate.

A retail space in the Novare building at 538 Victoria St. will soon turn into a chocolate hub — the front end of the 900-square-foot space will house Origins Chocolate Bar (currently located at the River Market) and the back end will be a chocolate-making kitchen run by Port Moody-based Cocoaro Craft Chocolate. 

Peter Jorgensen and Katey Wright, who run Origins Chocolate Bar, expect to move into the standalone store by June 1.

There is still a lot of work to be done before the store shapes up to being the kind of hangout spot where people drop in for a swig of hot chocolate, a bite of frozen chocolate treat, or for a big chocolate haul, they said.

The couple leased the place last August; since then, they have been working with the design company, Pure Design Inc, to conceptualize their dream store.

Starting out, the space was an "an empty concrete shell,” said Wright. "It's one of the little retail spaces around the corner of the Novare building, and it literally has never been occupied. We have the great luxury of being able to build it out exactly how we want it” — a luxury they didn't get in their River Market location. 

"At the River Market, we're tucked under the escalator in a way that if you come from one direction, you will never see us, but if you come from the other, we are the first thing you see,” said Wright. 

Besides it being partly hidden, the 100-sq.-ft. store doesn't have a prep space to make hot chocolate, or even room for a fridge to store milk.

All these constraints had the duo looking for a bigger space. However, they soon learned that real estate prices were "grossly" unaffordable for them to be running a store on their own. 

A solution to this, they thought, would be to find someone to share a space with. 

Which is how Margaret Inoue’s Cocoaro Craft Chocolate came into picture.

Partnering with Cocoaro Craft Chocolate

Since Origins Chocolate Bar sells Inoue’s chocolates, they knew that she was looking for a new place.

“She (Inoue) was facing renoviction and was starting to fret about where she might move to. She was looking at newer spaces and the cost of being in these spaces, was way beyond what she could afford. So, she said, 'Would you guys ever consider partnering up and sharing a space?' And we went, ‘Yes!’,” said Jorgensen. 

In the new setup, Inoue would focus on making chocolates, and Jorgensen and Wright, on selling them.  

"In our new space, we're going to be able to prepare and sell beautiful drinking chocolate; we're hoping to do special ice cream bars and chocolate ice frozen treats in the summer," said Jorgensen.

“We're also hoping to do tasting flights, similar to the ones at a craft brewery or a winery, except with chocolates… you can come in with a friend and try a little flight that will have five or six different single origin bars, and get a sense of what makes chocolate chocolate,” he added.

The store plans to bring back the chocolate-tasting sessions that it regularly hosted pre-pandemic, and also host chocolate-making classes by Inoue, among other events. 

“We're going to be able to offer a lot more in the new space,” he promised. 

Origins Chocolate Bar's new location will be at 538 Victoria St.