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High sugar prices sour the mood on Valentine's Day

Feb 14, 2024
Manufacturers of sweets and candies face rising costs for sugar and cocoa due to weather patterns and disease denting supply.
The costs of both sugar and cocoa have climbed — making the costs of Valentine's Day chocolates rather bittersweet for candy lovers.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Consumer spending is “all over the place,” chocolate shop owner says

Jul 7, 2023
Even with erratic demand, this Maine chocolatier is optimistic about a strong year for her business.
Dean's Sweets in Portland, Maine, is looking forward to a busy summer.
Melissa Mullen Photography

Valentine's Day chocolate sales were strong ... but it'd be helpful if you shopped earlier

Feb 17, 2023
"It's fun but it's difficult to know how much to make when everyone comes in on the same day," said Kristin Thalheimer Bingham, co-owner of Dean's Sweets in Portland, Maine.
Of all the holidays, Valentine's Day is the biggest chocolate-seller for Dean's Sweets.
Courtesy Melissa Mullen Photography

For this Maine chocolatier, costs are starting to cool down

Jan 12, 2023
After raising prices last fall, Kristin Thalheimer Bingham, co-owner of Dean's Sweets, describes her expenses and product pricing.
"Our biggest challenge going forward is to get our inventory back up and ready for Valentine's Day," said Kristin Thalheimer Bingham, co-owner of Dean's Sweets. Above, nonpareils from the shop.
Melissa Mullen Photography

Amid Black Friday sales, retailers are still dealing with inflation

Nov 23, 2022
From records to chocolate to bicycles, three small businesses describe how they're doing ahead of Black Friday.
As shoppers flock to stores this Black Friday, small businesses are still weighing how to handle rising prices.
Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images

Maine chocolatiers resist raising prices as holiday sales begin

Sep 26, 2022
Kristin Thalheimer Bingham, co-owner of Dean's Sweets in Portland, talks about preparing for the holidays and rising costs.
"We are resisting, really resisting price increases," says Kristin Thalheimer Bingham of Dean's Sweets in Portland, Maine.
Melissa Mullen Photography

Like Willy Wonka, this Memphis chocolatier wants his sweets to tell stories

Sep 5, 2022
With flavors like barbecue, cornbread and banana pudding, Phillip Ashley Rix found an unfilled niche in the luxury chocolate world.
A box of luxury chocolates from Phillip Ashley Rix.
(Courtesy Rix)

For public good, not for profit.

For this Maine chocolatier, labor is the "No. 1 cost to stay competitive"

Jul 13, 2022
"To keep our great team, we have raised our wages significantly," said Kristin Thalheimer Bingham, co-owner of Dean's Sweets in Portland, Maine.
Chocolate "bombs" being prepared at Dean's Sweets in Portland, Maine.
Kaitlin Toto Photography

Chocolate shop has plenty of business but not enough staff

Jul 23, 2021
Dean's Sweets in Portland, Maine, has had "crazy growth," but it's competing with other local businesses for employees.
The interior of Dean's Sweets in downtown Portland, Maine.
Courtesy of Kristin Thalheimer Bingham