Artisan chocolate shop opens in Darlington town centre

Inspired Chocolate, owned by Richard and Yvonne Warne, 46, from Darlington, will open on the town’s Grange Road on Saturday.

It will be an extension of their chocolate factory in Leyburn, acting as a way to expand their business.

Mr Warne, 47, who manages the daily operations of the business, said their chocolate is handcrafted in-house by their chocolatiers.

“There nothing in the town centre really offering chocolate, and certainly not premium handmade chocolate, something a bit different, something you’re not going to find in a supermarket,” he said.

“We very much look forward to welcoming the people of Darlington to come and have a look in our shop and enjoy a sample.”

Mr Warne said another factor in the pair’s decision to open the store was Thornton’s leaving the area, and he said he believes their shop can fill the gap left by its departure.

Regarding the challenges of opening a new shop, especially in the current economic climate, he said: “Everything takes twice as long as you think it’s going to.

“We have to expand our base, that’s why we’re doing it. It helps give more exposure to our chocolates, it keeps our chocolatiers busy.

“We’re sort of supporting our factory by increasing the ability to offer the chocolates to market. We’re doing it to help us get through.

“Chocolate price has gone up exponentially, all of our costs have gone up hugely, so we have to grow in order to stand still. We’re confident in our product and confident people will like them, and hopefully come back for more.”

Mr Warne, the grandson of former Darlington Football Club chairman, Ken Warne, added he thought Darlington would be the perfect place to set up his shop having grown up in the area.

The shop will be offering truffles, pre-made assortment boxes, chocolate bars, models, Easter eggs, various chocolate novelties, personalised chocolate, as well as gift boxes, barista coffee and hot chocolate.

Opening hours are planned to be 10am to 4pm, Monday to Saturday.

Darlington and Stockton Times | Business News