Video by Kelsey Abell
Story by Sydney DeLosh
Mason Times staff writers
With truffles, cookies, and a chocolate fountain flowing, the Maple Street Mall hosted its fourth annual Chocolate Extravaganza from Feb. 17-19.
Debbie Dancer Hedemark, owner of the antique and specialty gift store, and her family provided most of the free treats for customers with help from Meijer bakery and a vendor who contributed the chocolate fountain.
Hedemark sent out 1,200 post cards, 400 emails and put advertisements in all of Mason’s publications to attract regular and new customers to the event. Hedemark said that about 90 percent of the customers came in knowing about it.
“We don’t run sale events very often,” Hedemark said. “So, knowing that a lot of people really, really like food we have chili cookoffs, we have soup-offs and sometimes we’ll have sales where there will be cookies in each booth. In April, we’re going to have a cakewalk and there will be cupcakes in all of the booths. I do a lot of things with food to draw people in, because everyone likes food, free food especially.”
Mason resident Linda Clark is a regular at the store and receives its regular emails. She also saw friends talking about it on Facebook and decided to attend the event again.
“In general, the chocolate’s good and there are a lot of things to look at while you enjoy the chocolate,” Clark said.
Another Mason resident, Patty Maddix, had not previously heard of the Chocolate Extravaganza but decided to attend after she saw the sign on her way to the bank.
“I love it,” Maddix said. “If you love chocolate at all, you’ll love it. It’s a very pretty setup. It looks really nice.”
Shonda Bain, a vendor who sells Longaberger baskets and pottery at Maple Street Mall, worked with Hedemark on the day of the event and was pleased with its success.
“I think it’s great,” said Bain. “My daughter begged me to let her skip school today. It brings people in and even the regulars make sure they’re here for it. It’s pretty cool.”