Wilmington's second Kilwins location will open at the Pointe at Barclay around mid-December, according to franchisee Katie Van Niman.
Kilwins, a sweet shop franchise started in 1947, has 150 locations across 26 states, mostly in the eastern U.S. The shop specializes in chocolates, ice cream and confections. There is another Kilwins location in downtown Wilmington on Market Street, owned by a different franchisee.
Van Niman is hoping the store will open before Christmas and in time for the new Wonka movie, which comes out on Dec. 15, she said. Right now, construction is in the early stages, including putting up walls, back-of-house and bathrooms. Construction began on the store about three weeks ago, she said.
“As soon as we got that permit, we started going and wanted to go as fast as possible so we can get that opening date before Christmas time,” Van Niman said.
Her team put up window signs for the upcoming Kilwins locations on Oct. 20, she said, which resulted in the word spreading on an ILM Foodies Facebook group with plenty of excited comments about the new location.
Van Niman said the community excitement makes her happy. Her hope is that locals will appreciate the new location now that they will no longer have to venture downtown to satisfy their sweets cravings, she said.
Her team chose the Pointe at Barclay location because she is familiar with the community, as she currently manages another franchise in the same area. She hopes her loyal customers will stop by her new endeavor and entre into owning a business.
“Midtown is pretty close to everyone and everywhere, and it’s a good date night spot where there’s food and movies and you can get some ice cream or something like that, so that was our thought process,” she said.
The inside of the store will have a brighter, more modern look compared to other Kilwins stores, Van Niman said, including a mural wall provided by Kilwins.
Van Niman worked at another Kilwins in Boone for about a year prior to her current position, she said. But she will train for an operator position at Kilwins’s headquarters in Michigan for two weeks, she said. There she will learn to make the in-house specialties like caramel apples and fudge and how to run the business as a franchisee.
Because this is her first time owning and operating a business, Van Niman has partnered with Hunter Trotter and Joe Christensen, who will advise her on running the business, she said. Trotter and Christensen have experience operating a franchise location and have worked with Van Niman in the past, she said.
“I’ve worked with them for about five years now,” Van Niman said. “I’m hoping that it is going to be great for everybody, great for the whole community too.”
There haven’t been any hires for the shop yet, Van Niman said. The hiring process will be something she is trained on in Michigan. Once her team is closer to the opening date, they will hire team members, she said.