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Chocolate is sweet success for business owner
She’s got the sweets for your sweet and this Valentine’s Day season Sandra Wixon is bracing for heavy traffic.
The chocolatier recently opened her shop Sweet Decadence Wine and Chocolate Bar in The Landing and has already received a lot of attention, even before this week’s candy-heavy holiday.
A successful business owner for six years of the same store in Newcastle, Wixon moved down to The Landing when her lease was up in December. So far business has been good with lots of customers on the weekends, at night and moviegoers at various times.
“It’s actually pretty crazy between this (Valentine’s Day) and December; it gets pretty intense,” Wixon said of past seasonal experiences.
She’s up into the night making her confections, sometimes until 1 a.m. In the morning, she starts the day baking pastries, making sauces, mixing truffles, scooping, rolling and dipping chocolate. Her shop, off of North 10th Place in The Landing, has the heavenly aroma of chocolate upon entering.
The most popular of her confections right now are her salted caramels and Joe Cools, which her husband Ron calls “Reese’s on steroids.” The Hazelnut Baconator and Butter Beer Nut chocolates are also very popular.
Typically, for three weeks in December and three days around Valentine’s Day, Wixon’s shop sees the most business. On Valentine’s Day she gets lots of last-minute shoppers looking for tasty gifts.
Her Tipsy Turtle, for example, is made with Jack Daniels; the alcohol burns off in the cooking process.
“I was a bartender before, so I have some pretty funky (recipes),” said Wixon. “I like mixology; I have a lot of fun with it.”
She’s been a self-described chocolatier since age 19. Wixon has no formal culinary training but picked up chocolate making when she made her own chocolates for her wedding.
“My mom was a phenomenal cook,” she said. “She was one of six kids, five brothers, so she was the one to cook for all those people.”
Wixon was always peering over her mother’s work in the kitchen and paying close attention to what she did. She spent some time in the mortgage business; but when the Newcastle location opened up, she decided to follow her hobby and opened Sweet Decadence.
She’s now won awards for her confections at the Enumclaw Chocolate Festival and placed in the top seven in the Evening Magazine Best of Western Washington contest.
Wixon reads lots of books and tweaks lots of recipes to suit her own taste and come up with her version of chocolates.
Thursday through Saturday her shop features wine and chocolate pairings. Tastings involve taking three sips of wine and following them with bites of chocolate after each one.
“We find that every wine goes with chocolate, but not every chocolate goes with wine,” she said.
Wixon likes explaining the subtle differences between her chocolate candies, bon bons and truffles to customers and the fun involved in naming them.
“The chocolate names, it makes a difference because if people just see dark truffle it’s not as interesting,” she said.
Some creations started as accidents, but took off in popularity, so she continues to make them. Sweet Decadence’s Burnt Caramel started exactly as that and the “super popular” Kasie Ann Caramel began with the wrong ingredients.
The shop has eight employees and Wixon said moving to The Landing has been a really positive experience.
“It’s been cool and I love the businesses around here,” she said. “It’s kind of nice to have camaraderie with other business owners.”
Sweet Decadence is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday. The shop is located at 827 N. 10th Pl., Suite B in Renton’s The Landing.