Oakwood chocolate shop to open 2nd store

Madame Delluc Artisan Chocolatier in Oakwood — the first and so far only shop in the United States representing Belgium-based Mary Chocolatier — is making good on its promise to expand its geographic footprint.

Its owners will open a second location in the Shops on Lane Avenue in Upper Arlington in suburban Columbus in about a month. “We expect to be open by Dec. 9,” co-founder Francoise Walusis told us. The new shop is at 1643 W. Lane Ave. in Columbus.

“As we have mentioned before, we are developing the North American market. The plan has always called for expansion,” Walusis said. “Columbus was the next logical choice due to its proximity to Dayton, demographics and market size.”

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The Oakwood store that opened 11 months ago at 2510 Far Hills Ave. in the Shops of Oakwood “is our template, and we envision shops in mid-size markets to be very similar,” Walusis said. “The Shops on Lane Avenue in Upper Arlington are very similar to the Shops of Oakwood in terms of feel and the surrounding area.”

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.

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