The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

November 2, 2013

Area family starts shop to satisfy sweet tooth

By Jessica Reynolds Contributing Writer
The Daily Star

---- — In February, Eric and Linda Robbins opened their chocolate shop, Liberty Tree Chocolates, at 122 Main St. in Oneonta’s Clinton Plaza. The shop features many different handcrafted chocolates, as well as other cafe goods such as muffins and coffee. 

Eric said he cooked for many years before the shop was opened, and loved to play around with chocolate but didn’t think to make a living of it until he lost his previous job.

“I read a lot online about making chocolate and decided to give it a try,” he said.

Eric said the store, which also caters for parties and other events, has gotten business mostly from word of mouth, but had its first big break last month at Bresee’s open house, where, he said, the chocolate received great reviews. Robbins said this event helped promote their store and bring more people in, but he expects business to pick up even more as the holidays creep closer and word of mouth spreads.

One of the most popular treats in the store, according to Eric Robbins, is the chocolate caramel truffle, a classic option.

The owners said they want it to remain a small, local shop in town instead of going online like many businesses.

“Everybody loves chocolate. My husband loves it, I love it,” Linda Robbins, a lifelong Oneonta resident, said. “We used to have a chocolate shop in town, but we didn’t for a long time, and that’s why we wanted to make one. And we are getting a lot of good feedback.”

According to Eric, the name “Liberty Tree Chocolates” comes from a previous idea of his to create a business that principally sold different varieties of chocolate bark, and “just stuck” even after he decided to add other chocolate confections to his repertoire. According to the Robbins, anything that can be hand-made in the shop is hand-made, to the best of their ability, down to the peanut butter in the peanut-butter cups.

The owners said their shop is a good place to grab a treat while waiting for the bus or when you have some extra time to sit and relax, but they would eventually like to expand.

“We would love to knock a few walls down and have a chocolate cafe where people could go for dessert and a glass of wine and relax for a minute,” Eric Robbins said. “But that would not be for a year or two.” 

For now, the couple said they are thinking of adding an in-store refrigerator to keep single-serving desserts cold and ready to sell.

“We just want to make people happy with our chocolate,” Linda Robbins said.