Founded by Don and Katy Kilwin in 1947, Petoskey, Michigan-based chocolates shop, Kilwins, has become nationally renowned for home-made recipes of sweet chocolate, fudge, ice cream and more. Kilwins in Stadium Trace Village opened in February 2023, and owner Harrison Jones, who is CM Ventures’ Regional Director for all of the Kilwins locations in the business’ northernmost territory, is excited to bring some of the “Kilwins pride” to the City of Hoover. Here, he briefly describes the chocolate business and offers his favorite items for customers to try.
Tell our readers about your journey in the chocolate business.
I am originally from Phenix City, Alabama. I went to school in Georgia and started working for CM Ventures, which owns five, different franchise states. I started just as a normal counter sales associate at their location in Columbus, Georgia. I eventually stuck around and worked my way up into management and now help manage all of the stores in their northernmost region.
Why open up shop in Stadium Trace Village?
My significant other is from Hoover, and her parents live right behind the Stadium Trace development. It’s something I always saw coming to visit them. We brought CM Ventures out and looked over the area. We love Hoover. It’s a great place to be. It’s a great place to do business. Kilwins serves the best fudge, ice cream and caramel products that money can buy. We’re pretty proud of our product and our brand, and we’re excited to bring some of that pride to Hoover.
Tell our readers about some of the products Kilwins sells?
Our Hoover location will always have 24 flavors of our Kilwins’ brand of ice cream. Our corporate kitchen in Petoskey, Michigan, makes all of our finer, more detailed chocolates. We have two chocolate machines–one of which is new. The other chocolates are made by hand and are packaged by hand. We have our fudge–all of it is made in-store, daily. It is all hand-paddled and hand-cut. Our style of fudge is known as Mackinac Island Fudge. We don’t use pans or ovens. It’s all cooked in a big, copper kettle right here in the store. That all gets poured out onto a pure marble table. We paddle that by hand until it cools and shape it until we get that perfect loaf shape. Our caramel apples are cooked just like the fudge–right here in-store. It’s about a three-to-four hour-long process to make all of our caramel goodies in one batch. All of those apples are clean, stuck and dipped by hand. We really take pride in having a hands-on approach. It’s a personable experience.
What is your favorite item?
I’ve had a lot of time, about seven years to try all of these products. It’s always tough to pick a favorite. Our apple pie caramel apple is a caramel apple that is dipped in white chocolate with a dusting of cinnamon sugar. It really is everything it promises to be. It’s our most popular apple in all of the stores we own. It’s an item that you buy once, and there’s no going back. I have one just about every time I’m in the store.
What do you recommend newcomers try first?
For newcomers, I recommend our apple pie and two berry pie ice cream. You’re not going to find an ice cream like that around town or in any other ice cream shop. Our s’mores ice cream and our sea salt ice cream are very good. Our top-selling ice cream in the company is our toasted coconut ice cream–that’s a good starting point for people to see what we do with ice cream versus some others.
Visit Kilwins in Stadium Trace Village at 5220 Peridot Place Suite 100 Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and on Friday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Customers can also follow the business on Instagram @kilwinsstadiumtrace.