Revamped chocolatier in South Barrington 'like a jewelry store' of treats
After buying and revamping a chocolatier in South Barrington, a suburban businessman now plans to expand to Barrington.
Mauricio Andrade of North Barrington owns the chocolate shop Cocolotte in the The Arboretum of South Barrington, off Higgins Road and Route 59. The business used to be Anna Shea Chocolates, which Andrade acquired in March.
The name "Cocolotte" comes from combining Andrade's daughter Chloe's nickname, Coco, and his other daughter's name, Charlotte.
Andrade set off to transform the shop's decor as well as its offerings.
Formerly dark and frilly, now it has a white color scheme and white marble glass displays, "like a jewelry store," he said.
Andrade said he retained all of the previous employees, who continue to use the same recipes to make chocolates and bonbons.
He is also expanding the lineup of housemade sweets.
Anna Shea sold cupcakes and gelato bought from other companies, Andrade said. Cocolotte makes its own cupcakes and will launch its own gelato, probably next week, he said.
In January, he hopes to add in-house macaroons and more pastries, like éclairs.
"They (Anna Shea) had high-quality products and we are going to add more high-quality," he said. "We decided to do our own, because we want to stand by the freshness and the quality."
Meanwhile, Andrade is also working on opening a new location at 122 W. Northwest Highway in Barrington, in the former Carpet Mill building.
The Barrington village board earlier this week granted a special use for the property, allowing it to become a retail chocolate shop in the front with preparation and shipping areas in the back. Andrade said he hopes to open around June.
Suzanne Corr, president and CEO of the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce, said the group is planning a ribbon-cutting for the South Barrington Cocolotte at 4 p.m. Dec. 7.
"Who doesn't love chocolate?" Corr said. "We're always happy to see people succeed. Chocolate and fancy chocolate and gift chocolate is something that seems to be on everybody's list through the entire year."
Andrade has a unique story: He was born in Brazil and met his Filipina wife while living in the Philippines. The couple moved to Las Vegas, where they lived for 15 years until Andrade retired from a company that builds slot machines. They moved to North Barrington in 2016.
"We decided to move because Vegas is not a nice place to raise a family," he said. "We were looking around and we found the suburbs in the Chicago area -- and we fell in love."
Andrade said he did some consulting and eventually decided he wanted to start making gelato, which he loves.
He took several trips to Italy in 2018 and early 2019 to research old family recipes in gelato shops in small towns, he said.
"When you get near (these shops) you say, 'What is this smell? It smells like strawberry.' When they make a flavor, everybody around the store for 100 feet can smell it, because the smell is unbelievable."
Andrade said he had signed a contract with a mall in the North suburbs to open a gelato kiosk, but the plan was derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I said, 'I need to start over after the pandemic,'" he said. "Then, I saw that Anna Shea was for sale and I said, 'Wow, let's go there.'"