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November 6, 2012

A sweet expansion

Winfrey's Fudge planning new location in Beverly

ROWLEY — Winfrey’s Fudge and Chocolates is looking to spread its sweetness to Beverly

The family-run company based in Rowley is in negotiations to buy a vacant building in Beverly at 115 Cabot St.

The property, which has been empty since Rice Rental Center closed in 2009, could soon be humming with the sights, sounds and smells of candy-making. Mark Winfrey said his family has signed a purchase and sale agreement for the building.

The Winfreys plan to open a retail store there, with a glass partition that allows customers to see the candy, fudge and chocolates being made. The family hopes to close on the property soon and begin renovations over the winter.

“We’ve always been interested in Beverly,” Winfrey said. “When this (property) came up, it really just fit like a glove. ... We’re all working very hard to make sure we have a strong company. We don’t like to take enormous risks, but we think this is a good fit for our company because of the location and the community we’re moving into.”

The Beverly purchase would be an expansion for Winfrey’s, which, in addition to its headquarters on Route 1 in Rowley, has retail shops in Newburyport, Rowley, Hamilton, Wenham and Stoneham.

Winfrey’s sells a variety of fudge, candies and chocolates, all of which are made in Rowley. Its products are sold in its own retail shops as well as other candy stores, farm stands and gift shops.

The large, warehouse-style building in downtown Beverly would also be used for storage of merchandise headed to the company’s retail shops.

Beverly’s Zoning Board of Appeals recently granted Winfrey’s a variance to use the building for storage. The family needed a variance because the building is in an area not zoned for warehousing. The Winfreys will also need a building permit before renovation work can begin.

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