25,000 truffles & so much more
Favorite Houston chocolate shop sweetens season with new Kroger partnership
A partnership between Kroger and one of Houston’s favorite dessert shops has made Valentine’s Day a little sweeter for chocolate lovers citywide. A selection of treats from Winfield’s Chocolate Barcan be found in many of the grocery giant’s Houston-area stores.
Priced from $5 to $45, the products from Winfield’s include everything from chocolate-covered Oreos and Rice Krispie treats to caramels, handmade truffles, and s’mores made with Winfield’s housemade marshmallow. They’re available on tables with custom Winfield signage.
Winfield’s began working with Kroger last year with two kiosks that started selling product for Halloween. They expanded to nine locations for Christmas. That’s since expanded to 29 locations including Alvin, Atascosita, College Station, Kingwood, Tomball, and Katy.
Molly Voorhees, president of both Becks Prime and Winfield’s Chocolate Bar, tells CultureMap that the partnership fulfills aspirations she’s had for the brand since the company acquired what was then called The Chocolate Bar four years ago. Rebranding the concept tied it to her family’s history in the food business by paying homage to her father, Becks Prime co-founder Win Campbell, and his great-uncle Winfield, who owned a bakery during the Great Depression.
From Voorhees perspective, the partnership with Kroger allows the company to reach far more people than it can through its locations in Upper Kirby and Rice Village. It also gives Kroger shoppers an alternative to the national brands on the store’s shelves.
“There are people in Katy who say, ‘bring a Chocolate Bar out here.’ We’d love that, but the capital expense is insane,” Voorhees says. “We can build a mini-store-in-a-store and bring that chocolate to people who are shopping there all the time. It’s an amazing opportunity to build our brand and get product in front of customers that like chocolate and who want better chocolate.”
Getting Winfield’s to the point where it could produce enough product to supply so many stores has been an operational challenge. Voorhees enlisted the help of chocolatier Rachel McKinley, who had worked with Purdy’s, a family-owned store in Canada with more than 80 locations. She helped optimize the procedures at Winfield’s commissary kitchen to ensure that every location is well stocked for the holiday.
“There just aren’t that many people who know chocolate as well as she does and have operated large scale operations,” Voorhees says. “She has a level of experience — when we decided to do this Valentine’s Day project, we had to make 25,000 truffles by hand. That is so many truffles.”
Working with Winfield’s is only the latest local partnership for Kroger. Acres Homes staple Burns Original BBQ has three bistro locations in Krogers across the Houston area, and the store worked with Dallas-based Zalat Pizza on installing pizzerias at two other locations.
“Kroger has a longstanding commitment to partnering with and investing in Houston brands and companies to accelerate our shared growth,” Garret Fairchild, head of deli and bakery merchandising for Kroger’s Houston division, said in a statement. “We admire the team at Winfield’s Chocolate Bar and what they stand for. Through our new collaboration, we’re deliciously thrilled our customers now have easy access to these exceptional, exclusive products in our bakery departments as well as seasonally at our Valentine's Day dipping stations.”