PIQUA — The chocolate river wasn’t the only thing flowing at the “soft” opening of Winan’s Chocolates and Coffees on Monday morning, for customers were flowing in consistently throughout the day, some wanting a crème bruleé coffee or Bavarian mints.
“(The first day has) gone fantastic,” owner Joe Reiser said. “We have had a constant full store all day. A lot of people are stopping in because of the signage and new store front.”
Reiser described the vibe in the store being upbeat, happy, and proud.
“I think our customers are as proud as we are of the history of our product,” he said.
The former Piqua Daily Call building, now occupied by Winan’s, not only has a store for customers to enjoy but holds a chocolate factory with a coffee roastery, gift basket operations, and administrative offices. There are open windows for customers to peer in to see their favorite sweets being born.
Reiser said a lot of coffee was sold, with many buying their favorite candies, but the top seller of the day was chocolate peanut butter since peanut butter was being covered in chocolate that day in the factory.
Keith and Liz Keyser, of Troy, were the first customers of the day. They said it was not their goal to be the first in line, “We just knew that we didn’t want to be late,” Liz said. The couple has been longtime acquaintances of Winan’s products.
“I’d say we very much appreciate their attention to the quality, passion, and love that they put into their products,” Liz said. “(Winan’s) supports Piqua and want to keep (business) here. It’s wonderful.”
It was always Doug Eakin’s morning routine to go to Winan’s and purchase a regular coffee before working at Unity National Bank, when the store was catty-corner from the bank. Eakin, of Piqua, has been a dedicated customer of five years.
“It’s definitely different,” Eakin said of the new store. “It’s very nice. I tried to stick my head in the windows and couldn’t see much (before opening day). It’s pretty neat what they’ve done here.”
In the factory, employees — most of whom have been with the company for decades — worked diligently on crafting the delicious candies. Clara Hutton, of Dayton, has called Winans home for over 40 years.
There have been some concerns about employees not wearing gloves being shown in photos on social media that Reiser wanted to address.
“When working in a factory, we work with a lot of moving parts and it’s dangerous to wear gloves,” Reiser said. “(Gloves) can get caught and pulled into the machine; it’s not safe for them to wear gloves around.”
Reiser said it is common in this industry to go without gloves and mentioned gloves carrying more germs than hands.
“(Customers) won’t see us wearing gloves while working machinery and sharp objects,” he said. “You will see us wash our hands quite frequently.”
The store is located at 310 Spring St. and is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Reach Amy Barger at (937) 451-3340.