A local candy company will set up shop inside the Riverside Train Station during the upcoming Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season, officially making it the village’s first foray into the “pop-up shop” phenomenon.
On Aug. 18, the Riverside Village Board voted to issue a license to Chocolate Twist to occupy a portion of the eastern end of the station during the morning and evening rush hours from Nov. 18 through Dec. 22.
Because it’s a kind of test case, the village board waived the license fee. In a memo to the village board, officials hoped the pop-up shop “will provide us data to assess the future viability of other pop-up storefronts.”
Kate Coffey, a Riverside resident who started Chocolate Twist in 2011, said that while she’s not interested in opening a full-blown retail store, she had been exploring the holiday pop-up idea and had approached village officials about any potential spots where one might work.
Turns out, the village of Riverside, which owns the train station, had rented the eastern portion to a coffee shop in the past and was interested in giving the idea a try.
“I had looked at the station before, and it’s such a beautiful building and quaint space,” Coffey said. “I thought it’d be a perfect match for us.”
Chocolate Twist specializes in caramels, candy bars, peanut butter cups, marshmallows and cocoa powder. While the bulk of the business is wholesale, Chocolate Twist products can be found at some 45 independent grocery stores around the country.
Coffey has been a mainstay at the Riverside Farmers Market since 2012, building a loyal local following. After starting the business in her home kitchen, she landed a production kitchen space in the basement of the Riverside United Methodist Church.
“We are fortunate to have been very supported by the Riverside community,” Coffey said. “I think this is a wonderful opportunity to make our products easily accessible to the community.”
While the pop-up shop won’t open officially until Nov. 18, the license on the train station space commences Nov. 10 and ends Dec. 31. While the times of operation may vary somewhat, the plan, according to the license agreement approved by the village board, indicates that the shop can be open between 6 and 11 a.m. and 3 and 7 p.m.
Coffey indicated that the pop-up shop would probably also be open Saturday mornings and during the Holiday Stroll
All of the merchandise will be displayed on portable units that can be moved easily into storage if there’s a need to.
Village Manager Jessica Frances said the pop-up shop would take up just a portion of the eastern train platform, allowing for a second pop-up shop in the space if there’s interest in doing so.