Colby College and Bixby & Co., a chocolate-confections manufacturer based in Rockland, Maine, today announced that Bixby will open a new retail shop and café in Colby’s building at 173 Main Street, Waterville. The new business is another significant development in the resurgence of Waterville and adds to the city’s growing identity as a destination for great food, art, and culture.
The artisan shop and café will feature Bixby’s own chocolate confections and drinking chocolates, espresso, gelato, and pastries made with Bixby’s bean-to-bar chocolate. The café will incorporate the building’s original bank vault (a “chocolate vault”), a small seating area for guests, and an interactive chocolate “bar,” where guests can learn more about how Bixby’s chocolate is sourced and created.
Built in 1903 as the Waterville Savings Bank, 173 Main Street was renovated by Colby College in 2017 and currently houses Portland Pie Co., technology firm CGI Group, and Colby offices. With the addition of Bixby & Co., 173 Main Street will be fully occupied for the first time in more than 25 years.
“We are thrilled to join vibrant downtown Waterville and to partner with the Waterville community,” said Kate McAleer, founder and CEO of Bixby & Co. LLC. “The commitment and leadership in driving economic development in Waterville are truly remarkable, and we’re very much looking forward to being a part of and supporting this exciting momentum.” McAleer noted that the company will continue to operate its manufacturing and retail tasting room at its present site in Rockland.
An important element of Bixby coming to Waterville involves bringing other Maine-based businesses to the community. For example, Gelato Fiasco, out of Brunswick and Portland, will provide the frozen desserts, while Portland-based Coffee By Design will be the roaster of record at Bixby’s Main Street shop. These collaborations support continued efforts to foster relationships with other successful regional companies and attract more entrepreneurship to Waterville.
“Bixby & Co. is an innovative, Maine-based company whose premium chocolates are distributed nationally in leading specialty stores and grocery chains,” said Brian Clark, vice president of planning at Colby. “When Bixby was considering where to locate its first brick-and-mortar expansion, they received universal feedback that they needed to be in Waterville, where they saw opportunity to be a part of a growing and diverse culinary destination.”
A wide range of other Colby initiatives on Main Street are helping to bring new energy to the city. These include the recently opened Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons, a residential facility downtown that houses more than 200 students, faculty, and staff; the Lockwood, a 53-room hotel that will be completed in the fall of 2020; and the Paul J. Schupf Art Center, currently in the planning process.
“Downtown Waterville is experiencing record economic growth, property transactions, and population increases, and continues to evolve into a dynamic area for residents, workers, students, and visitors,” said Garvan Donegan, director of planning and economic development at the Central Maine Growth Council. “Bixby & Co.’s new retail shop and café is continued evidence of how it’s also becoming the epitome of an ideal Main Street community. In other words, a composition of remarkable small businesses supported by strong public-private partnerships and investments.”
More About Bixby & Co.
A Maine-based chocolate company, Bixby chocolates are sold in specialty stores and grocery chains across the country, as well as at its retail tasting room in Rockland and online at BixbyCo.com. It is a family-run business that produces premium, consciously created chocolate, and is one of only 12 certified woman-owned companies in Maine. Bixby chocolate confections are also gluten-free and kosher, with several vegan options. Bixby is the first and only bean-to-bar chocolate maker in Maine, bringing the utmost in chocolate innovation to the state.
Sourcing only high-quality, fresh ingredients and never using preservatives or artificial flavors, Bixby is committed to being not only among the best in the world but for the world by supporting cacao-growing communities, using ethically sourced chocolate, and reducing toxins in the environment by sourcing organic and non-GMO ingredients.