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The Chocolate Cellar will open its doors to the public for the first time on Saturday for a “sneak preview” of its wares before opening for good on May 31, owner Laura Phelps has told The Rant.

Located on Steele Street next door to Nunnery’s Shoe Shop, the name fits for Downtown Sanford’s newest business, as the shop is below street level, accessible by stairs near the intersection of Steele and Carthage.

According to its website, The Chocolate Cellar will sell all types of chocolate, from drops to “extravagantly infused truffles, all made from the highest-quality, ethically traded ingredients … with no hydrogenated oils.” Truffle flavors will include traditional, pralines and cream, bistro berry, key lime pie, red wine, hot and spicy, salted caramel, Irish cream, bourbon and more. The shop will also offer iced hot chocolate (multiple flavors available), chocolate-dipped fruit and other goodies.

The Chocolate Cellar will be run by Phelps and her daughter Carol, who spent a summer abroad in France recently and brought home the business idea with her.

“My daughter and I have been making chocolates for years,” Phelps told The Rant earlier this year. “We decided to go ahead and take the next step. We love the location — that building, the old Masonic temple, the old Collins Press — it’s so great for what we want to do. It has the right ambiance we’ve been looking for.”

Arrangements with local artists and the Arts Council are in the works to display paintings and other art in the shop.

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