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THE WOODLANDS, TX-The Schakolad Chocolate Factory, a homemade candy-making operation with an interestingly visual retail twist, has just opened its first Houston-area location. The local franchisee has spent several years looking for just the right spot.

Headquartered in Winter Park, FL, the Schakolad Chocolate Factory is expanding nationally through franchising opportunities. Entrepreneur Veronica Kearney of the Woodlands inked a five-year lease for the 1,500-sf space in Research Forest Plaza at 1500 Research Forest Dr. It was not determined, by press time, if additional Houston locations would follow.

“She’s been in the Woodlands for awhile and we’ve worked with her for about four years, trying to find the ideal location for this particular business,” says Jeff Beard, president and owner of J. Beard Co. LLC in the Woodlands, which represented the building owner, Research Forest Plaza LLC. “She looked at every new shopping center in and around the Woodlands,” he says, “then decided this location would be right for her.”

Beard adds the transaction brings the first phase of Research Forest Plaza to 91% occupancy. “I have a commitment for the balance of the space,” Beard tells GlobeSt.com. “The lease options have gone out and we should be seeing full occupancy on this property within the next week to two weeks.” The plaza’s quoted rent is $21 per sf annually.

The Schakolad Chocolate Factory’s twist is that all retail locations actually showcase, in their front windows, chocolate being made by machines, to encourage customers to come inside the stores to taste the merchandise. Offerings include a variety of chocolates catered to retail customers and corporate clients, as well as a coffee bar with coffees, hot chocolate and a sampling of gelato ice cream.

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