Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Jessica Leonard is filling the shelves of her chocolate shop in Westbury Shopping Center in Henrico County with her hand-made confections.

Leonard opened Miss Maude’s Bar of Chocolates candy store at 8801 Three Chopt Road last week. She is having an open house from 3 to 9 p.m. Friday.

The store’s signature confection is a bar of chocolate that consists of eight distinctly-flavored chocolate squares. It called the Why Choose? chocolate bar, as in why choose one flavor when you can have eight flavors in one candy bar.

Leonard, who has a business degree from George Washington University, worked in the finance industry for a decade before switching gears and going to Culinard culinary school.

“I always loved food and finally just did it. I left and went to culinary school, but I never really wanted to work in a restaurant. I wanted to do something more alternative. I didn’t know exactly what that was. I thought maybe a product,” she said.

She said the idea for a chocolate bar with multiple flavors came to her while she was shopping in the candy aisle of a gourmet food shop.

“There were all these different flavors. I thought why isn’t there a chocolate bar with more than one flavor. ... I said that’s what I am going to do,” she said.

“Then I had to go back and learn more about chocolate. I learned a little bit in culinary school,” she said. She worked with a master chocolatier to develop her recipes.

The names of the flavors in each chocolate square are molded onto the chocolate. Flavors include salted caramel, hazelnut praline and Peruvian pink salt.

The name Miss Maude’s alludes to the roaring 1920s woman who had a special zest for life.

Purchases can be made at the store or online at barofchocolates.com.


Other locally operated candy shops gearing up for the Valentine’s Day rush include:

  • Chocolates By Kelly
  • at 414 W. Broad St. and a pop-up near CinéBistro in Stony Point Fashion Park offer assorted boxes of cordials, chocolates and caramels that are popular. The store also will be doing in-town, same-day deliveries. You also can order online at chocolatesbykelly.com.
  • Gearharts Fine Chocolates
  • at 306 B Libbie Ave. is offering two special Valentine’s themed gifts — an assorted gift basket filled with favorites and a box of hand-piped peanut butter pups. Buy online at gearhartschocolates.com or in store. The in-store price for the 16-piece assortment consisting of one of each of its signature chocolates is $29.
  • At
  • Chocolate Cravings
  • , 6929 Lakeside Ave. in The Hub shopping center, chocolatier Cathy Churcher said she is doing packages of little hearts, cupids and truffles. Her chocolate barks are popular, she said.
  • Her chocolates also are available at local businesses. For information, visit choccravings.com.
  • At
  • For the Love of Chocolate
  • at 3136 W. Cary St., in Cary Court Park & Shop, shoppers can custom-fill a box of your sweetheart’s favorites, plus for your little valentines there are lots of kid favorites.

Henrico Sheetz getting a major renovation

The Sheetz at 7035 W. Broad St. is getting a major remodel. A building permit was issued Jan. 26 for $500,000 for the project.

A spokeswoman for the company said the store is scheduled to close in late February for remodeling and projected to reopen in April.

According to documents on file in the Henrico County building permits office, the work includes removing and replacing the existing canopy, awnings and signage; renovating the restrooms; installing new kitchen equipment, floors and ceilings; and building additions to increase space for restrooms and the cooler areas.

Walmart driver gets custom Peterbilt truck

Walmart long-haul driver Terry Burris has been criss-crossing the U.S. for years — racking up 3 million miles and a clean driving record.

For his longevity and safe record, he was presented with a new custom Peterbilt truck last week at the Walmart Distribution Center in Sutherland, near Petersburg.

“What I am most proud of is I have never hurt a single soul on the highway. Everybody has family. I have family,” said Burris, who lives in Amelia Courthouse. Getting home safely to his family was always uppermost in his mind, he said.

Burris, 65, said he hopes to drive for a few more years before retiring. He marked 25 years as a driver for Walmart in December.

He is one of six drivers at the distribution center who have reached the 3 million mile mark. Others are Lorenzo Morris, Mark McGrath, Stan Curtis, Buddy Meador and James Timberlake.

Work underway for Drury hotel in Henrico

Site work for a new eight-story, 217-room Drury Plaza Hotel is underway at 11049 W. Broad St. near the Interstate 64 interchange and across from the CarMax store.

St. Louis-based Drury Development Corp. is developing the hotel, projected to cost $16 million to build.

Family-owned and -operated Drury Hotels operates 150 hotels in 25 states, according to the company’s website. The company properties operate under the names Drury Inn & Suites, Drury Plaza Hotel and Pear Tree Inn.

Drury Development bought a 3.45-acre parcel in Henrico County for $5 million in August. The 152,000-square-foot hotel is going up on a parcel adjacent to the SunTrust Center, formerly called WestMark office park.

The hotel will be the company’s first in Virginia. It is expected to open sometime in summer 2019.

Bridge Investment Group of Salt Lake City acquired the 40-acre office park, including two office buildings, in February 2017. The office park was renamed SunTrust Center when the Atlanta-based bank consolidated three of its suburban Richmond offices into the former WestMark One building.

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