(Feb. 15, 2013) Didn’t satisfy your sweet tooth on Valentine’s Day? You’re in luck! On Sunday, 20 West Ocean City merchants will serve an assortment of free, chocolate treats to those participating in the sixth annual Death By Chocolate event.
The game takes “players” to businesses throughout West Ocean City and provides them with an opportunity to patronize places they have not been to before. Nineteen shops and one restaurant are on the list to stop at this year.
“It was designed to create awareness for who your local merchants are. Even though some merchants participate year after year, it’s a great opportunity for them to show the public their new offerings. It’s also to remind people to support local merchants,” Jan Patterson-Hohman, organizer of Death By Chocolate with Louise Reardon, said last week. The pair own CraZy LadyZ!, one of the businesses scheduled to take part in the event.
Death By Chocolate participants will visit CraZy LadyZ!’s new West Ocean City location during the Feb. 17 event. Reardon and Patterson-Hohman last week closed the Route 50 shop they operated for seven years. The business has moved into a larger space nearby.
Other Death By Chocolate participants featured again this year are Paws & Claws, Monkey’s Trunk, Kendall Furniture, Wockenfuss, Blue Moon Boutique, Snapdragon, OC Floor Gallery, Park Place Jewelers, The Green Room, Bliss Salon & Spa, Buddhas & Beads, Marlin Market, OC Organic, Hair Evolution, Ocean City Chamber of Commerce, Paddle House Outfitters and Sunset Grille.
This is the fourth year the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce will be a Death By Chocolate stop.
“This is a great opportunity to generate some business around West Ocean City in the off-season, as well as introduce people to businesses that they may have never been to before,” said Melanie Pursel, executive director of the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce. “It is a fun and creative event.”
Todd and Jill Ferrante, owners of Park Place Jewelers, have participated in the festivities for five years. Todd Ferrante said the event is not only fun for those playing the game, but for merchants, as well.
“We see a lot of familiar faces and some people coming in that have never been here before,” he said. “It’s great for us to see some familiar faces and some new ones.”
Ferrante said he likes to offer different sweets during the event. This year, visitors can snack on chocolate covered pretzels, malted milk balls and “chocolate crunch.”
Special discounts on watches and dia-mond and gemstone rings, earrings and pendants will be offered at the store.
This will be Bliss Salon & Spa’s fifth time as a Death By Chocolate destination.
“We love it because it bring new interest and clients to the small businesses in the West Ocean City area,” said Bliss owner Beth Miller. “We enjoy the spirit of the event and those that take the time to participate. [Stop by and] enjoy some chocolate and maybe even a cocktail.”
Featured at Bliss will be a chocolate fountain with fruit and other snacks for dipping. A rum punch will also be served. Guests who make a purchase or book an appointment on Sunday will receive a $10 gift vouchers.
Kendall Furniture has been a participant since Death By Chocolate began six years ago. Owner Joe Kendall enjoys the festivities, although he said he does feel a little pressure to make the presentation better each year at his store.
“We’ll have our special champagne toast, fresh raspberries, secret homemade crab dip, and of course, truffles and treats from Wockenfuss,” he said. “It’s a great day to open our store and relax. It’s like our living room and we get to entertain. We see some of the same faces each year, which is awesome [and] also the new [visitors] are fun to meet. They can’t believe the spread that Kendall puts out each year.”
Marlin Market was a stop for the first time last year .
“It was great. A lot of people came through the store,” said co-owner Roberta Hennessy. “I had a blast. It should be fun again this year.”
Tabby Berkeridge, manager of 19th Hole Bar & Grille, which is connected to Marlin Market, will be making chocolates for the affair. A 15-percent discount off bottles of wine will be offered at the store on Sunday.
A Perfect Face Day Spa and Treasures by the Sea have joined the Death By Chocolate festivities.
“We are going to go all out here. The whole weekend will be very chocolaty and sweet, without all the calories,” Carol Withers, owner of A Perfect Face, said last week. Besides offering free chocolate snacks, there will also be a drawing at the spa to win a 5-pound Hershey’s candy bar.
Game cards and chocolate desserts will be available at each participating merchant. The theme of this year’s event is “Going to the Zoo.”
Participants may stop by the participating businesses between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. and in any order; however, they must visit each place, find a zoo animal, and then have their card validated. Players will also have to solve a final clue.
Completed cards may be left at players’ last stop or dropped off at Sunset Grille on Sunset Avenue, where there will be food and drink specials available, including $4 chocolate martinis. Those interested in dining at the restaurant should make reservations by calling 410-213-8110.
Cards must be turned in no later than 6 p.m. Players 18 and older with completed cards will be eligible for prizes awarded by each merchant. The drawing will take place at Sunset Grille at 7 p.m. Winners need not be present to claim their prize. They will be notified Monday.
It is free to participate in the game and to sample the chocolates. Last year, Patterson-Hohman said, approximately 460 people turned in game cards, but many more took part in the festivities.
For more information about Death By Chocolate, call 410-213-2085.