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Chocolate shop owner retires into sweet deal

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Steve Prickett retired from Merrill Lynch in June and, without missing a beat, opened his hand-crafted Eldora Chocolate shop soon after.

Prickett says the 2,000-square-foot store on Edith just south of El Pueblo is the only “bean-to-bar” chocolatier in Albuquerque.

It’s a labor of love for Prickett, who says he has always loved dark chocolate and wanted to make all-natural, fair trade products with no preservatives after learning how to do so while on a trip to Hawaii.

Eldora – named for wife Andrea Prickett’s grandmother – gets beans from Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Tanzania, Venezuela and, most recently, Mexico.

Prickett roasts the beans in his shop, puts them through a refiner and transforms the resulting liquid into a variety of products, including truffles and bars that go as high as 100 percent cacao.

But if you’re not that much of a purist, you can also get your chocolate mixed with a 10-spice mole, tart cherry, or pumpkin spice – one of the current best-sellers, Prickett says.

Prices include: $2.75 for a truffle; $4 for a chocolate square and $7 for a bar with “added inclusions,” or ingredients. Products are also sold online at eldorachocolate.com.

Eldora Chocolate, 8114 Edith NE, is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. It’s closed Sunday and Monday. The store can be reached at 505-433-4076.

Slowing down

Fruit Basket owner Pat Romero at his 12th Street store, which is closing. The Fourth Street store will remain open.

Longtime Albuquerque businessman Pat Romero says it’s time to slow down.

Romero, owner of The Fruit Basket of Albuquerque, is shutting down his location near 12th and Candelaria NW at the end of the month. However, the store near Fourth and Osuna NW will remain open, he said.

Romero and his family have been in business for 30 years, but he’s 76 now, and “it’s time for me to scale back.”

He said that although “it’s hard to compete with chain stores,” he found that he was, in essence, competing with himself.

Some of the customers at his 12th Street location moved to the Fourth Street store when it opened 10 years ago. The newer store is larger and has more parking, Romero said.

“I just would like to keep that one,” he said. “I would rather have one and take good care of it. I’m getting to that age where it’s better to take it a little easy.”

Adding slices

An employee adds toppings to treats at The Dapper Doughnut. (Courtesy of Dapper Doughnut)

Because you can’t have too much pizza, right?

Ohio-based Marco’s Pizza is offering as many as three franchises in Albuquerque as part of an initiative to add 30 locations across the country by 2020, according to a news release from the company.

The company is based in Toledo and now has more than 900 locations in 35 states and three countries, according to the release.

For more information on Marco’s Pizza franchising opportunities, visit marcosfranchising.com or call 866-731-8209.

And doughnuts

As promised, Dapper Doughnut has opened at Coronado mall.

The franchise, new to New Mexico, specializes in mini-doughnuts that customers get to watch being made. Each order is customized, with customers choosing from 21 toppings, according to a news release from the company.

The shop is in the food court at Coronado Mall.

The owners, Craig and Michelle McGregor of Santa Fe, say they have plans to expand.

A niche online

Albuquerque jeweler Tom Evans is one of 80 artisans who will be featured on Amazon’s Maker Pop-Up store for the 2018 holiday season.

Evans previously has sold his work mostly at local events such as the Santa Fe artists market and the WESST holiday pop-up market. Being on Amazon’s Pop-Up store, he said, will give him much broader exposure and, he hopes, increase sales.

Amazon chose the artists featured on the site in collaboration with the American Craft Council.

“It’s a little bit of a validation of my new body of work to be asked to participate in this,” Evans said in a recent phone interview.

Ater earning a B.S. in industrial design and working in a variety of jobs, Evans said he went back to school at Santa Fe Community College to study fine woodworking. He and his wife have previously made and sold ceramics, jewelry and home decor items.’

The line selling on Amazon, marketed under the Griffith Evans name , consists of his wood and porcelain sculptural jewelry, which Evans says is inspired by early African jewelry and curvilinear wood furniture.

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