Robin Bruner is the proud new owner of Swell Sweets, formerly known as Chocolates Plus, Qualicum Beach’s home for B.C. chocolates and cards.

A SWELL new look for a SWEET Oceanside staple

New owner of Qualicum Beach’s card and chocolate shop puts locals first

Living in Qualicum Beach you can rely on two things: set after set of soothing ocean waves, and friendly neighbourhood waves from passersby in the close-knit community.

Ain’t it swell?

New resident Robin Bruner had those sentiments in mind when coming up with a new name for the old chocolate shop on 2nd Avenue, and that’s how she settled on Swell Sweets.

“I really loved the legacy of Chocolates Plus in the community, and the consistency of what the previous owners were doing,” Robin says. With the name change to Swell Sweets, she’s reconnecting to the core of the community, and highlighting the best of the store’s offerings from the last 30 years.

Community first

Bruner moved to Qualicum Beach with her family last fall, and dreamed of owning a small business that connected her to the town. Swell Sweets fit the bill.

“A store selling greeting cards and sweets is really in the business of helping people celebrate, helping them feel good, and helping people show that they care,” she says. “It makes me feel like I’m a part of the community.”

Growing up in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Robin learned the importance of tradition and neighbourly values. At Swell Sweets she’s focusing on local makers and local clientele, and making lasting improvements to customer service is a top priority.

“We’re in business for people in this community, not just for tourists who drop in and move on.”

B.C. chocolatiers and greeting card makers

Along with familiar classics, Robin now carries some new cards and chocolates you won’t want to miss.

  • Ethical: Swell Sweets now carries Burnaby’s Truffle Pig Chocolate, which sources sustainable cacao directly from farmers, and was featured on Dragon’s Den.
  • Sugar-free: Robin has sourced new options for chocolate lovers with special dietary restrictions.
  • Local: When she took over the store Robin found four new local greeting card suppliers to add to Swell Sweet’s collection. “It’s a really good mix of funny and heartfelt cards that you won’t find anywhere else.”
  • Savoury souvenirs: Salish Sea Chocolate Company features local artists on their labels, and designs are embossed on the chocolate itself. “It almost looks like a wood carving,” Robin says. “It’s beautiful, and you can eat it — a classic win-win!”
  • Innovative: B.C. chocolatiers are experimenting with fun local flavours like Fraser Valley strawberries and other farm to chocolate fun, and Swell Sweets has a great selection.

Robin’s ownership transition went a little different than she’d planned this spring, but the store is now open for shopping online and in person. Stop by to say hello and see what’s new! Follow Swell Sweets on Facebook and Instagram, and visit the store at 142 Second Ave West in Qualicum Beach.

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