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December 8, 2022

Bixby Chocolate opening first retail café in Waterville arts hub

person in yellow dress with bags PHOTO / DAVID CLOUGH Kate McAleer, seen here at her Rockland facility, is opening Bixby Chocolate Café at the new Paul J. Schupf Art Center in Waterville this month.

Bixby Chocolate, a Rockland maker of organic chocolate bars founded in 2011, said it would open its first chocolate café and retail shop in Waterville on Dec. 17.

“We are thrilled to open our Bixby Chocolate Café — this has been a longtime dream come true,” the company’s founder and owner, Kate McAleer, said in a news release.

rendering of counter and signs
Courtesy / Susan T. Rodriguez, Architecture Design
A rendering of the Bixby café.

McAleer is a 2022 Mainebiz Women to Watch honoree.

The café will open in the new Paul J. Schupf Art Center at 93 Main St. 

It will offer grab-and-go options ranging from Bixby’s Bixenta brand of coffee and chocolate drinks to confections, including winter bon bons.

bag and box of chocolates
Courtesy / Bixby Chocolate
“Bixenta” coffee and bon bons.

Bixby Chocolate supports cacao-growing communities by using ethically sourced chocolate from around the globe. Meaning “victorious woman,” Bixenta coffee will be served exclusively in the café. 

Bixby specializes in bean-to-bar chocolate manufacturing and employs 15 people. The products are manufactured in a 125-year-old former ice plant located on the working waterfront in Rockland. 

McAleer has won multiple awards, including Gorham Savings Bank’s $30,000 LaunchPad competition in 2014, the New York-based Tory Burch Foundation $100,000 pitch competition in 2016, the $25,000 Greenlight Maine Grand Prize in 2021 and, this year, the national Good Food Award and three Specialty Food Association sofi awards.

She collaborates on products with Maine companies such as Split Rock Distillery, Maine Grains and Allagash Brewing Co.

Products are in Whole Foods, Hannaford, Market Basket, Shaws, Stonewall Kitchen, Rosemont, Walmart and L.L.Bean. Certifications include organic, non-GMO, kosher, gluten-free and vegan.

McAleer recently returned from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Summit in Washington, D.C., where she was Maine’s team captain. 

“Kate and Bixby Chocolate represents the best of Maine’s entrepreneurial landscape through a dedication to sustainability, social responsibility, and community,” said Garvan Donegan, Central Maine Growth Council's director of planning, innovation and economic development, a 2021 Mainebiz NEXT List honoree.

Donegan said the addition of the café to Main Street comes at an important time for Waterville’s revitalization, helping to position the city as a destination for food, art and culture. 

rendering of building
Courtesy / Susan T. Rodriguez, Architecture Design
The Paul J. Schupf Art Center in Waterville is opening Dec. 17 with Bixby as a tenant.

Developed in partnership with Colby College and Waterville Creates, the Paul J. Schupf Art Center, which officially opens to the public Dec. 17, was designed as a hub and destination for the visual and performing arts, arts education and film. 

Connecting to the historic Waterville Opera House, the $18 million center brings together the community arts organization Waterville Creates and its three programming divisions — the Maine Film Center, Ticonic Gallery + Studios and the Waterville Opera House. Schupf Arts will also include an extension of the Colby College Museum of Art via the vibrant new Joan Dignam Schmaltz Gallery of Art. 

The center features flexible, multipurpose spaces for art and cultural programming.

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