When Laurie Rose heard Olde Naples Confectionary needed a new owner, she jumped at the chance to relocate from New Jersey to Southwest Florida. “We were looking for a reason to move down here permanently, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity,” says Rose, who had already been vacationing in Naples for several years with her husband’s family. “I’d been baking and making treats for family and friends my entire life, and I thought owning a chocolate store would be a really fun adventure.” After taking over, she changed the name of the shop and began tweaking its products. Fourteen years later, Olde Naples Chocolate continues to supply local chocoholics with classic treats like salted caramels and truffles, as well as unique Florida-style gifts such as seashell-shaped chocolates and edible sea glass candies. Rose also offers chocolate-making classes and parties, where guests can leave with a pound of chocolate they’ve made right there in her shop.
NI: What is the secret to your longevity?
Rose: We’re the quintessential small-town chocolate shop. We don’t try to be too trendy, but instead focus on improving our handcrafted chocolates and traditional treats.
NI: What is your favorite type of chocolate?
Rose: My current favorite is our dark chocolate cookie butter, which is made of cookies with just a hint of ginger that you can spread like peanut butter.
NI: How many chocolates do you eat in an average day?
Rose: At least four pieces, but you have to when you’re in my business. I keep in shape through triathlons; I probably do about 12 in a normal year. I actually learned to swim five years ago just so I could participate in them.
NI: Do you have any special classes coming up this month?
Rose: We have two Valentine’s chocolate classes for adults on February 6 and 8. We’re also hosting a kids chocolate class on February 10, where they can come in and make chocolates for themselves or as a gift for someone else.