City leaders elated over sweet business expansion

By Stephen Betts | Sep 07, 2017
Photo by: Stephen Betts A ceremonial ribbon-cutting is held Thursday afternoon, Sept. 7, for Bixby & Co.'s "Bean to Bar" chocolate factory retail room on Sea Street in Rockland.

Rockland — Rockland business and government leaders praised the entrepreneurial spirit of Kate McAleer, who founded Bixby & Co., for the opening of a retail room for the organic chocolate bar maker.

A ceremonial ribbon-cutting and open house was held Thursday, Sept. 7, at Bixby's factory and retail center at 1 Sea Street Place off Tillson Avenue.

Gordon Page, executive director of Rockland Main Street Inc., said he was pleased to see the expansion along the Tillson Avenue corridor, which is an important part of the city.

Tom Peaco, executive director of the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the expansion of the business will make Rockland an even greater destination for visitors.

State Sen. David Miramant, D-Camden, and Rep. Pinny Beebe-Center, D-Rockland, praised McAleer's entrepreneurial spirit.

In addition to the grand opening of the retail room, the event was also for the launch of the company's new premium Bean to Bar Craft Chocolate.

Visitors to the factory and retail space can learn about the process of making chocolate from scratch and taste samples, according to a news release from the company.

Bixby & Co.’s new premium bar is a 70 percent dark chocolate, containing just two ingredients: organic single-origin cocoa beans, and organic cane sugar.

McAleer founded Bixby & Co. in 2011 in New York with her mother, Donna McAleer. The company was moved to Rockland in 2013.

The younger McAleer came up with the idea when she was playing on the golf team as a student at New York University in New York City. The snack of choice for most teammates was candy bars, but she wanted a healthier choice and came up with the idea of starting the business.

The new Bean to Bar factory was funded in part by a grant from the Maine Technology Institute.

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