Valentine’s Day with Sally’s Sweet Shoppe
There is no skimping on perfection at Sally’s Sweet Shoppe.
Inside the unassuming Weymouth, MA storefront sits a perfectly organized glass cabinet of chocolates, truffles and turtles, all of which are made by hand at the shop. The store’s three employees turn out more than 930 pieces of handmade caramel per week, every truffle filling is made by hand and, around the major holidays, they can make more than 100 pounds of chocolates each week.
“There’s bark to be made, packaging to be done, creams to be made, we make all the fillings,” co-owner Glenn Pelrine said. “It’s a process.”
Sally and Glenn Pelrine are entering their ninth year as chocolatiers and owners of Sally’s Sweet Shoppe. For weeks they’ve been preparing for Valentine’s Day, one of the top-three holidays that drives shoppers to their store. In the days leading up to the holiday of love, they’ll sell upwards of 10,000 sea salt caramels, turtles, peanut butter cups and chocolate-covered Oreos.
They have it down to a science: Monday is for making caramel; Tuesday is for coating in chocolate; Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are for creating, filling and chilling truffle shells; and weekends are for whatever is left, usually making peanut butter cups, snow caps and chocolate lollipops.
Along with one longtime employee, Tess Lebarron, the Pelrines do everything themselves.
“I use a really nice Belgian chocolate, we make all of our own fillings and it’s really small batch stuff,” Sally said. “We really worked hard to develop the recipes we use and we try to keep it as consistent as we can.”
“There is no expense spared,” her husband added. “We really do the best we can do.”
Sally’s Sweet Shoppe represents a major shift for both Sally and Glenn, who worked in human resources and engineering before opening the shop.
“I always wanted to run my own business,” Sally Pelrine said of her transition from human resources to being a chocolatier. “I wanted to be a baker, actually, but Glenn had to go out of state for work and I started taking chocolate classes. He came home and said, ‘These are so good. This is something we could do.’ “
Now they’re a favorite gift spot for thousands of families around Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, they sold out of tens of thousands of pieces of chocolate. The new year, they say, is like starting completely from scratch.
In addition to handmade chocolates, Sally’s Sweet Shoppe sells chocolate-covered crackers and cookies, penny candy and vegan and nut-free options made in a separate facility. They sell orders as small as an individual piece of chocolate and as large as corporate gifts or wedding favors.
“Most of the people who come here do it because someone else told them to, which is just the ultimate compliment,” Sally said. “Then they come back over and over again.”
Photos in this post were taken by the wonderfully talented Greg Derr. They were originally published in The Patriot Ledger.