In 2017, my dear friends Barb, Matt, Chase, and Brody Beck decided to open their own business. Although Finney’s Chocolate Shoppe has been a staple in the Cambridge Springs area for several years, they decided to move it around the corner to a bigger space so they could grow the business. They moved the equipment and got all set up for inspection when the night of May 2nd, just one day before they opened their doors, the historic Riverside Inn burned to the ground. I remember Barb saying to me “what did we do?” They had just put their heart and soul and money into opening this business and buying the building and now the driving force, the key element in our town that drove shoppers into our town had burned to the ground.
We had just been open 2 days shy of a year when the Riverside Inn burned down and we were thinking the same thing. At that point, 54% of our retail business and 99% of our online business came from the Riverside Inn guests. And sadly only 7% of our retail business came from the local people in our town (that percentage has doubled since!!). How would we survive? We had already been established for a year, what about a business who had been established but moved from its Main Street location to a side street and under new ownership? What were my friends going to do? Keep moving forward.
The fire was still burning, the firefighters had been battling blazes all day, the fire kept rekindling, but they opened their doors. Despite what they were up against, they announced that they would be open until 5:30 pm on May 3rd. #cambridgestrong is that sense of despite all odds, when others would throw in the towel and give up and say “maybe this is a sign that we shouldn’t open”…you figure it out. You put a smile on your face and just know that everything will work out just the way it should. Our town has been plagued by tornados, fire, floods…and yet, we don’t give in. We rally together, help each other, lift each other up, rebuild and keep moving on.
If you have ever been to the chocolate shoppe then you know it is fabulous! I think it tastes so good because everything is made with love. My personal favorite is the heaven on a stick which is a pretzel rod covered in peanut butter, caramel, chocolate and then rolled in peanuts. It is truly heavenly. I also purchase other items such as their almond bark, my kids love the chocolate suckers, and gummy snakes, and of course they added saltwater taffy and banana is my all time favorite! Barb and I also collaborated (really she did all the work) on coffee candy bars for our coffee shoppe using our Happy Mug coffee and her amazing chocolate which were such a huge hit! The Beck family have been really giving to the community these past 2 years. They donate to several local organizations, travel to vending shows to help raise money for charities, and have joined in on every crazy business idea I have had…selling their chocolates here at vending events as well as business events like the Gingerbread Tour and Hoppin’ Around Cambridge. They are just the sweetest, most loving, giving, caring family.
Exactly 2 years and 10 days (just 9 days after they celebrated their second anniversary) after the Riverside Inn fire, our town was devastated by another fire. The site of where the new Hardwaters Brewery was being built caught fire and this time, Finney’s Chocolate Shoppe was hit hard. Luckily their building was safe from the flames but the amount of smoke damage was astronomical. Ceilings need replaced, all of their equipment needs replaced including the original 40 year old chocolate machines, molds, storage containers, and the most tragic of all…all of the chocolate had to be tossed away. A hard hit to a new business. They have been closed since and working with the insurance company and the fire cleanup crew to figure out how do they move on from here. Most would have given up. Most businesses would have just taken the insurance money and moved on. But not the Becks!!! You can’t break their strong spirit! They are a wrestling family and NOTHING will beat them down! So they are remodeling, getting all of the replacement equipment ordered and then will have the task of making all the chocolate to refill their store. #cambridgestrong is the Beck Family! They have overcome so much adversity in the 2 years they have been open and they do it with such love and hope and positivity. They will reopen in the next month or so bigger and better than ever! And I truly hope that our community just pours so much love and support into their business to remind them that we love them and cherish them. They are such a wonderful asset to our community!