In larger markets, “We expect the locations will be in high-end retail districts within the city rather than in the suburbs — for example, on North Michigan Avenue in Chicago,” she said.
The reception to the first Madame Delluc has been positive, Walusis said.
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“Our shop is a source of pride for many of our local customers who make a point to bring their out-of-town guests and family to Madame Delluc. We have had many customers from the Dayton area who have traveled to Belgium and had the chocolate there express their appreciation for us being here.”
There are no immediate plans for additional shops in the Dayton area, although Walusis said at this time over the long term, Madame Delluc’s owners will evaluate the Cleveland and Cincinnati markets.
Madame Delluc is the first venture of Francoise Imports, operated by Francoise Walusis and her husband John Walusis of Washington Twp., and her brother-in-law Brian Walusis of Miami Twp. Francoise Walusis is a native of Belgium whose father was a diplomat for the Belgian government, and she came to Ohio 20 years ago to attend Wittenberg University.
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Walusis said her trips home to visit her parents always included enjoyment of the chocolates of her youth, and she frequently brought samples back for her family in the U.S. Ultimately, she and her husband approached the artisan chocolate producer Mary Chocolatier, which was founded in 1919 and is one of only a half dozen chocolatiers awarded a royal warrant to provide chocolates to the Belgian royal family.
The company produces its chocolates using original recipes developed by founder Marie Delluc in the 1920s.