Ethel M was created in 1981 after Forrest Mars Sr. retired from Mars in the 70s. He wanted to create the most gourmet chocolate he knew by using recipes and handed down from his mother.
Young did not disclose how much Ethel M contributes to Mars’ overall business, but he told ConfectioneryNews it plays a “very specialty role” within the company’s North American division.
7,000-square-foot new store
The chocolate store will be roughly 7,000 square feet once the renovation is complete. It will feature a tasting room, factory tour aisle, demonstration area, design-your-own-box counters and a cactus garden café, said Young.
“We will also significantly increase our SKUs to offer more premium and specialty products to our growing customer base,” he added.
Taking advantage of the touristy Las Vegas
Being located in Henderson, Nevada, just a few miles off the Las Vegas Strip, Young said that Ethel M’s site is competing against some of the “best entertainment and experiences in the world”.
“It was time to give our attraction a makeover to realign with who we were as a brand, and what our customers, both locals and tourists, had come to expect from a Las Vegas attraction,” Young said.
“What does that mean? It means more interactive experiences, more thoughtful design, and more flavor packed into every area….We wanted to make our chocolate factory an attraction that wasn’t just great when compared to other chocolate factories, but great when compared to other Las Vegas attractions.”
Preparing for the holiday season
Young said the renovation of Ethel M aligns with Mars’ business principals, and he believes that the future of the premium chocolate factory store “looks bright”.
“Mars has always operated under the Five Principles, the first of which is Quality,” Young said. “And that’s exactly what this renovation will do for the Ethel M Chocolate Factory.”
As soon as Ethel M finishes the grand re-opening, it will jump into the holiday season with many new products, Young said.
“There are always new flavors, like Latin and Asian spices seem to be on-trend right now. There are new claims, like bean-to-bar… With our new factory store and our new Chief Chocolatier Mark Mackey, our customers have a lot to look forward to over the next decade from Ethel M Chocolates.”