Longtime Mt. Sinai foreign language teacher Christine Viscount went from making confections at home for friends and family, to running one of America’s favorite chocolate and ice cream shops, Kilwins, in Port Jefferson.
“I like to be creative in the kitchen,” she said, “so I started branching out from cupcakes to dipping Oreos. And then everyone was asking for Halloween treats or Christmas treats. I had kind of thought about a business but put it on the back-burner. Then this [Kilwins] fit in so nicely. This is perfect for me. I’m doing something I love.”
Viscount and her husband, Brian, who works at Applied DNA Sciences in Stony Brook, had their first experience with a Kilwins while in Newport, R.I., in 2013.
“We always in the back of our mind were wondering, what’s next?” he said. “It was during a fall weekend up in Newport, Rhode Island, that we walked into a Kilwins store and we got interested. And one thing led to another and here we are today.
Kilwins Port Jefferson opened this summer at 109D Main Street in the heart of downtown Port Jefferson. The store’s northern windows look out at the harbor.
They both love the mom-and-pop feel of all the Kilwins shops, where staffers make their own chocolates, fudge, waffle cones, caramel corn, dipped apples and more daily.
“We didn’t even know it was a franchise,” Christine said. “Then a few months later we decided to look it up — What was the name of that place? — and we saw the franchise button on the website and clicked it.”
Nearly for years later, and after a busy first summer on Main Street, the Viscounts got to bask in the joy of opening their new shop with a party Saturday. Joining them were family members, friends and regulars.
Port Jefferson Mayor Margot Garant was also on hand to celebrate another specialty shop in the downtown.
“Anytime we have an anchor merchant come to Port Jefferson we’re thrilled, and this is a gateway store to our village when you come off the boat,” she said. “We love our restaurants — which help keep us busy year-round — but people need those destination shops like a Kilwins.
“We’re thrilled with their investment and the product is A-Number 1; it’s off the charts.”
It’s the quality of the product and the consistency of the experience across Kilwins stores that sealed it for the couple, who visited several locations while doing their homework before committing to opening their own.
Brian, who helps out on nights and weekends, says he enjoys sharing samples of vanilla — especially with first-time visitors.
“Vanilla doesn’t lie,” he said after passing along a scoop. “This is just good ice cream.”
“And the result has been … that people are truly are happy that we’re here,” he continued. “Not only because the products are really, really good, but they love the experience of our store. They smell. They taste. They linger.
“They value the experience, and you can feel it.”
Top photo: Alyssa Blassol, Emma Gutmann, Michelle Dibenedetto, Lucia Berry, Anna Viscount, Christine Viscount, Brian Viscount, Emma Viscount, Evelyn Tommasino.