Andie Groff made her very first chocolate bar at 8 years old by creating a candy bar mold made from tin foil, and filling it with a concoction of Swiss Miss cocoa mix, warm milk, vanilla extract, and a few whole almonds. She popped that candy bar mold into the freezer, and one hour later, "Andie's Candies" was born.
Fast forward to 1995, when Andie started attending William Rainey Harper College in Palatine, IL to begin her culinary journey. What started out as a simple cake making and decorating class became a passion to learn how to create and design her own sweets.
In 1997, Andie switched schools and began learning French Patisserie at the Culinary & Hospitality Institute of Chicago. As her education brought her into the world of chocolate, she fell in love with the endless possibilities that chocolate had to offer, and immediately switched her coursework from baking over to creating chocolates. While working full-time for a Fortune 500 company, Andie spent two years baking and decorating wedding cakes as a side job while creating hundreds of pieces of chocolates for her boss to hand out at large company meetings throughout the year.
In 1998, Andie met her husband, Tony, and the dream to open their first chocolate shop took shape. They considered opening a franchise of a regionally well-known chocolate company, but Andie didn't want to be held by the constraints of making someone else's recipes. They pursued the possibility of opening a franchise of another well-known and nationally established chocolate fruit company, but again, Andie had a desire to create and sell her own recipes. The chocolate shop idea was put onto the back burner until the right moment came along while continuing to create chocolates and treats as a "side business".
In 2008, Andie began making her chocolates available to local wineries, and started doing chocolate and wine pairings during special ticketed events. It was at one of these wonderful pairings where The Chocolate Shoppe was born. The Winter Wine Walk of 2009 in North Utica, IL became the stepping stone to launch Andie and her family into a whole new world of chocolatiering.
In the fall of 2009, Andie began doing in-home chocolate tasting events throughout the Chicago area while she and her stepdad, Roger, built a storefront next door to the Illinois River Winery in North Utica, IL.
From 2009 through 2014, The Chocolate Shoppe at Starved Rock had two locations; one just outside of the entrance to Starved Rock near the intersection of Clark St (IL Rt 178) and Dee Bennett Road, and one in the heart of downtown North Utica on Mill Street.
723 S Clark Street, North Utica, IL
122 Mill Street, North Utica, IL
In the early spring of 2014, The Chocolate Shoppe closed their location in North Utica and moved to the Groff's hometown of Yorkville, IL. Their new storefront opened on March 1, 2014 at 175 E Veterans Parkway.
Due to several years of heavy road construction at the busiest intersection in the county, The Chocolate Shoppe closed their location to the public in the spring of 2017 and began hosting popups at other local businesses throughout the area while creating their chocolates in a commercial rental kitchen on the north side of Yorkville.
Through the 2020 pandemic, The Chocolate Shoppe continued to persevere by offering local delivery to residents within a 25-mile radius of Yorkville, IL, and offered nationwide shipping. Even though the entire world was on "lockdown", The Chocolate Shoppe was able to created hundreds of chocolates on a weekly basis and provide them to hungry fans around the country.
After a 3-1/2 year hiatus from the retail setting, The Chocolate Shoppe opened it's first retail location in Naperville, IL in November 2020, followed by it's second retail location in North Aurora, IL just one month later in December 2020. By February 2021, The Chocolate Shoppe had 4 retail locations and continued to build more in various marketplace settings throughout Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.
By the summer of 2022, The Chocolate Shoppe was in desperate need of a larger facility to produce the amount of chocolates necessary to fill the retail shelves of 4-6 locations. After writing out a 5-year business plan, The Chocolate Shoppe secured a 1,300 sf facility in August 2022 that would allow them to grow and expand their business over the next 10 years. In addition to the new facility, The Chocolate Shoppe was now able to fully launch a wholesale program for other small businesses that were interested in carrying a gourmet line of chocolates and treats within their stores and boutiques.
Today, The Chocolate Shoppe specializes in creating chocolates that are available for sale online or through our local marketplaces. Our award-winning chocolates are created in our dedicated gluten-free facility in Plano, IL, and offered through local delivery or nationwide shipping. We also offer a large variety of other allergy-friendly confections which include dairy free, egg free, peanut free, tree nut free and vegan options made with premium Belgian chocolate.
Our products can also be found at shops and marketplaces throughout the USA (visit the LOCATIONS page for details).