Ethel M Chocolates, the premium division of Mars, Inc., is ready to celebrate.
The company has wrapped up a three-month, multimillion-dollar renovation of its Henderson, Nev.-based factory store. A grand reopening event is scheduled for Oct. 28, which happens to be Nevada Day and National Chocolate Day.
General Manager Oren Young said he’s pleased with the renovation — and relieved it’s finished.
“It’ll be a huge weight off my shoulders,” he says. “I’m so excited, and I’m very proud of my team and the effort that they put in.”
Ethel M began construction July 5. The redesigned store features an open floor plan and interactive elements that allow customers to interact with the brand. Among the enhanced amenities is a self-guided viewing aisle with digital displays illustrating Ethel M’s history and Mars’ sustainability efforts.
Furthermore, shadow boxes with original artifacts will be installed along a timeline exhibit, and a life-size, 60-piece chocolate box will be available for the company’s selfie-taking customers.
An upgraded tasting room will also overlook Ethel M’s signature Botanical Cactus Garden, which has more than 300 species of cacti and desert plants. In the tasting room, guests will learn about the chocolate-making process and sample freshly made treats. An Ethel M chocolatier will also prepare chocolate-covered strawberries, caramel apples and other sweets in a new demonstration area.
In addition, a variety of confections will be displayed in the store’s 7,500-sq.-ft. retail space. Young hopes the expanded retail area, in addition to other upgrades, will -- in two to three years -- attract 1 million annual visitors, up from the 600,000 that annually toured the facility before the renovation.
Young said he’s eager for local and visiting customers to experience Ethel M in a different, more engaging way.
“I’m just so excited that we’re going to be in a position to really re-launch and share this great brand in a new way with the world,” he says.