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Norman Love Confections moves in next to Trader Joe's

Norman Love Confections has reopened its chocolate salon on the other side of University Parkway at The Shoppes at UTC.
Norman Love Confections has reopened its chocolate salon on the other side of University Parkway at The Shoppes at UTC.
Photo by Lesley Dwyer
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When Norman Love found out there was a spot open for his Norman Love Confections next to Trader Joe’s in The Shoppes at UTC, he just melted.

Love wanted to capitalize on the walk-by traffic that he knew Trader Joe's would generate.

Norman Love Confections opened its first chocolate salon at University Town Center in November 2020. The store was located on the west side of University Parkway in Sarasota. A Pura Vida cafe will be taking its place.

The salon relocated across the parkway to Manatee Ccunty after the opportunity arose. It now sits right next door to Trader Joe’s.

“Our businesses have always done well on walking traffic,” Love said. “I can’t tell you how excited we are to be in this shopping plaza.”

The move from one location to the other was strategically planned between two big chocolate holidays. The first store closed on Feb. 17, after the Valentine’s Day rush. The new store opened on March 15, just in time to release the brand’s Easter collection. 

While the gourmet treats can be bought online and have a loyal following year-round, Easter marks the end of a five-month holiday season. 

“The quality and beauty of our products make them a natural, and often repeated, item on our customers' gifting lists.” CEO Lisa Fisher said. “This increase in demand picks up around Halloween and remains high through the December holidays, Valentine’s Day and Easter.”

With the clock ticking, meeting the demand for chocolate eggs and bunnies was the store’s first priority. The ribbon cutting and grand reopening celebration wasn't held until the day after Easter April 1.

CEO Lisa Fisher and Founder Norman Love are surrounded by staff members as they cut the ribbon on Norman Love Confections in The Shoppes at UTC.
Photo by Lesley Dwyer

Love said the opportunity was presented by Benderson Development. Given how much traffic goes in and out of Trader Joe’s and the plaza’s traffic as a whole, the team decided to make the move. 

“We felt as though we had a wonderful location (at the original spot), but this could potentially be better for us based on the successes of our other stores,” Love said. 

There are five other Norman Love Confections in Fort Myers, Naples and Estero. Three are in Ft. Myers where the company is headquartered. The six stores employ nearly 150 people.

The brand is growing with the focus set on the east coast of Florida right now. The next store will open in Delray Beach, and a location in Boca Raton is likely to follow. The team is currently looking at spaces. 

“We see another store in Sarasota, perhaps, maybe stores in St. Pete and Tampa,” Love said. “We think that we have a great product, and we’re very excited to grow our brand through the state of Florida.” 

The new location is about 200-square-feet bigger than the original 2,000-square-foot store at UTC. 

Norman Love Confections moved to a new location within University Town Center where there's more foot traffic.
Photo by Lesley Dwyer

The display cases, decorations and staff were all relocated from one store to the other. 

More importantly, the assortment of chocolates, cakes, pastries and macarons that fill the cases are the same. 

“After nearly 24 years in six stores and a growing brand and reputation, we make chocolate the same way,” Love said. “With a lot of love, fantastic ingredients from around the world and a group of professionals who come to work every day to be the best.”

Vibrant colors and glossy finishes make the desserts the epitome of looking too good to eat, but they’re meant to be enjoyed in a timely manner. Most of Love’s chocolates only have a shelf-life of three weeks. 

The company uses premium ingredients and goes easy on the preservatives. The chefs use molds, but that’s as close to mass production as the kitchen comes. Each dessert is a handcrafted work of art.

“My chefs are so accomplished, and creativity is a big part of what we do,” Love said. 



Lesley Dwyer

Lesley Dwyer is a staff writer for East County and a graduate of the University of South Florida. After earning a bachelor’s degree in professional and technical writing, she freelanced for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Lesley has lived in the Sarasota area for over 25 years.

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