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The Wall Street Journal reports on Ethel’s Chocolate Lounge, a new store that has opened in Chicago earlier this year, with a half-dozen expected to be operating by the end of the year.

“Mars Inc., the closely held candy giant behind Ethel's, is betting that chocolate is the new coffee,” the WSJ reports. “Decorated with pink-and-brown striped wallpaper and whimsical lighting, the new chain is Mars's attempt to make lingering over a plate of premium chocolates in a café space as mainstream as drinking a morning latte at Starbucks. For a company best known for making mass-market products like Twix and Snickers bars, this means transforming a lowly commodity into a high-price luxury.”
KC's View:
The Journal refers to this trend as “Starbucks envy.” And they’re right.

The big difference between coffee and chocolate, it seems to us, is that coffee has a functional role in how most people live…and Starbucks was able to raise the level of the game through canny marketing and merchandising, strengthening the bonds that connect retailer and customer. We can’t get through the day without coffee, and Starbucks traded in on that.

Maybe it is just us, but we can get through the day without chocolate without much problem.