On Saturday, chocolatier Phillip Ashley Rix will unveil his latest shop, Phillip Ashley Chocolates
at 1200 Madison in the Medical District.
The space is significantly bigger than the Cooper-Young shop, with an expansive kitchen in the back, big enough to host chocolate making classes come summer.
"We needed the space to grow," explains Rix.
Rix is a self-taught chocolatier who launched his business in 2012. Part of the appeal of his chocolates were the unique ingredients — sweet potato! — and another was the beauty of his product — pretty gem shapes with airbrushed lines and splatters. Rix was also savvy in pursuing partnerships with area chefs and events like the Grammys and the Oscars. He's also built quite a business in supplying businesses — FedEx, ServiceMaster among them — with chocolates for employee and client gifts.
Rix says the place was no more than a two walls and a bare floor when he first saw it. Today, it is an airy spot with a long counter topped with Rix' treats. At front, there are a few tables to encourage guests to stop for a coffee or tea, which the shop will offer. (Rix sees this as a cafe.)
Along one wall are shelves. The bottom few will feature goods from mostly local African-Americans purveyors. Items such as Pop's Kernal Popcorn and Beneva Mayweather rolls will be included. Rix also plans collaborations with such businesses as Sweet Magnolia gelato.
Art will be shown on a rotation. Right now, it's the work of Danny Broadway, a longtime friend of Rix.
The store will sell its 24 signature flavors — French blue cheese, bourbon and fig, and sweet potato are a few. There will also be the Memphis collection — 12 pieces that sum up Memphis in a bite. We're talking sweet tea lemon, peanut butter and banana, and barbecue, of course. There's also one Rix named Hot Buttered Soul (!).
Rix is encouraged by all the traffic; some 24,000 cars pass by in a day. He says people have been stopping by already, though they aren't open yet. Indeed, two such folks came in during our interview.
In addition to the new shop, Rix will introduce a monthly chocolate subscription service on Saturday. It's $49 per month, with six chocolates per package. "It's for the chocolate person," says Rix.
Grand opening is Saturday, April 13th, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Individual chocolates will be sold for $2 each.