MORRISVILLE — Kesha Dozier was a scientist by trade when she set out to identify her passion.
“I asked myself what I would want to do if I wasn’t getting paid to do it,” she said.
Every time she asked the question, the answer was always the same: chocolate.
Two years ago, Dozier and her husband, Maurice, opened The Chocolate Boutique in Raleigh. In May, they opened a second store in Park West Village shopping center in Morrisville.
The elegantly decorated shop showcases its decadent creations from fine Belgian and Swiss chocolates.
Dozier said she routinely hears two responses when visitors enter the shop: “Oh, this place is dangerous,” and “I’ve walked into heaven.”
Sea salt caramels are one of the most popular items, followed closely by chocolate-covered bacon.
“We have something for everyone,” Dozier said.
Beyond the displays is the party room where guests can make their own chocolate using one of the shop’s 1,200 molds.
“We have everything from spark plugs to high heel shoes,” Dozier said, adding that party-goers range in age from 4 to 92. “I tell parents who book a birthday party that they should count on everyone coming.”
For adult events, such as bachelorette parties and Girls’ Night Out, the shop plays music to taste – from Sinatra to bluegrass – and can provide food and drink to round out the night. A beer and wine license means guests don’t have to bring their own.
“We are one-stop for fun, food and gifts,” Dozier said. Each guest leaves a party with a half-pound of chocolate to take home.
Dozier, who has Celiac disease, is sensitive to customers’ dietary issues. If she is notified of a party-goer’s allergy, she will ensure protocols are followed to eliminate cross-contamination. She notes that chocolate itself is gluten-free.
For a spectacular offsite event, Dozier points to a two-flavor fountain that holds 25 pounds of chocolate.
“It is the only one like it in the state and the 12th in the country,” she said. “Her name is Flo.”
Modeled after the wall fountain at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas, Flo is “truly a showstopper,” Dozier said. Flo is not to be handled by amateurs: She comes with a personal assistant.
Dozier said she dreams of retiring doing what she is doing now. The road to success has not always been easy, though.
“I had no idea how physically demanding retail would be,” she said.
The mother of three is still working to achieve a balance with her personal life. But chocolate remains her passion.