Retail Lessons Learned

What the first summer in our own shop taught us

Summer is over, actually, it’s almost November… and what a summer it was. Our first season in retail was a big hit and so worth it. But also quite a journey. We worked hard and played little. Last you heard from me when we had just opened the doors of our storefront at the St. Peters Landing. Everything was new and fresh and clean and pretty. Too pretty, we quickly realized. All our displays were thematically arranged: rose dishes for the rose water marzipan, potted mint next to the mint version, fake blossoms on a branch with the orange blossom kind… You get the gist. Everything nicely put on various shelves, tables and sideboards along the walls of the shop. So no one really got what we were selling! Our chocolates weren’t visible enough for our customers. First fix: downsizing the decorative elements, and building a center aisle to display our products. We used lobster traps and rustic self-made wood boxes for the latter, staying in the maritime theme. And we certainly left some prettiness on display in the periphery, like our marzipan potato truck or the mortar and pestle filled with coarse salt.


And then the signage: Our Maritime Marzipan logo proudly painted on a big wooden sign didn’t do the full trick of getting people into the shop. Because not everyone knows what marzipan is. The curious ones that stepped or looked inside often got confused by the artsy feel of our shop (as described above), and did not realize that we were selling chocolates. Second fix: Adding additional signs pointing to this being a chocolates store. Once inside, we offered marzipan samples. Sampling was the easiest way to get our sales up. We convinced a couple of marzipan haters to like it and a lot of marzipan lovers to choose ours. And we often created a new taste experience for those who had never tried marzipan before. We put little sample jars with each flavour so that customers could find their favourite one. Fix #3: Let them try.

Talking to our customers one on one also put a big idea into Mike’s head: what if we would offer chocolate-only treats for those allergic to almonds, and those who we really could not get to like marzipan, and everyone else – because who doesn’t like chocolate. And this is how Fritz Chocolates, our new sister brand, was born. Using the same high-quality Belgian chocolate we coat our marzipan treats with and molding it into beautiful bars and fun shapes we started offering white, milk and dark chocolate treats. We can even print on chocolate using edible ink. Fix #4: Offer a variety of products and tailor them to the your market.

Last but not least, our biggest coup to bring more customers in was to start making specialty coffee. Fix #5: A semi-professional espresso machine and the same Receiver coffee beans we are using in our coffee marzipan created a big draw for tourists and locals alike. Because marzipan, chocolates, and coffee go oh so well together. And because there is no offering like this anywhere near. While the coffee drinkers waited for their lattes and cappuccinos to be made, guess what, they shopped for marzipan and chocolate treats! And we had great conversations.

While this summer flew by in a heartbeat and left us exhausted from the seasonal hustle and bustle, Mike keeps saying to me: “This is the best job I ever had.” He loves making treats for you and he loved chatting with all of you who visited our shop and see your happy faces. Thank you for that! 🙂

Today, we cleaned the shop and stored everything away to keep it safe for the winter. Feels weird to see everything so empty. But trust us, our heads are filled with plenty of ideas for next year. The shop will be a bit larger and -drum roll please – we will be opening a cafe in the cabin next door in 2019. Can’t wait to fill your bellies with more wonderful things and give you a place to hang out, relax and have a good times.

I will tell you about all the other upcoming projects in my next post… And now, go and check out our website for a list of our vendors that have our products in store so that you don’t miss out on your marzipan feed. Lots of new flavours are in the works. Have you tried our spicy Honey Habanero marzipan made in collaboration with Maritime Madness yet? Psst, Riverview Country Market and Kent Street Market also have Fritz Chocolates in store.

About Jessica L. Fritz

Jessica is "from away" in the truest sense of its meaning: her roots are in Germany. She immigrated to Toronto, Canada in 2010 and moved to PEI two summers ago. As a passionate home cook Jessica likes to explore different types of cuisines including her native one. "Thinking globally, buying locally" is her foodie mantra, and being able to grow veggies in her own backyard was one of the big drivers for her move to PEI.
Putting words on paper has always been a way to express herself. Hence, writing for Salty combines her love for food and the written word while at the same time discovering PEI's thriving culinary landscape.
And recently, Jessica and her husband launched their own food business: Maritime Marzipan offers hand-made traditional European almond treats inspired by Island living. She is blogging about her adventure here on or you can find them at

View All Posts