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Chocolate company Kilwins to open Phila.-area location in King of Prussia

August 3, 2018

Source, Philadelphia Business Journal, Kenneth Hilario

King of Prussia is about to get much sweeter. A local family will open an outpost of Kilwins, a concept that began in 1947 and specializes in chocolate, ice cream, candy and other confections.

Local operators and owners, the Simpson family, comprising Delaware County natives Gary, and son and daughter-in-law Glen and Sarah, will open a 1,850-square-foot Kilwins at the King of Prussia Town Center.

When it opens in mid-August, it will be the first Kilwins to open in the five-county Philadelphia region.

Kilwins will sell hand-crafted chocolate, hand-paddled fudge and other products like ice cream, and caramel apples, corns and brittles.

The location will have up to 15 full- and part-time employees, including the owners. The Simpsons will go through the hiring process at least until September, with the hope of hiring local college students looking for summer and back-to-school jobs.

This will be the second Kilwins the Simpson family opened; they opened a location in 2010 in Rehoboth Beach, Del. The Simpson family operated that store for five years until Gary sold the majority to a friend.

“I took a break, but as my son Glen got older — he’s now 30, we started talking about bringing Kilwins to Philadelphia,” said Simpson, who first retired in 2007 until he said he “got bored” and got into the retail business again.

The Simpson family will operate the day-to-day operations at the King of Prussia location.

“We are looking forward to opening our store in the King of Prussia market with experienced franchisees like the Simpsons,” said Steve Titus, vice president of sales and development at Kilwins.

Kilwins will not have inside seating. “The beauty is the seats outside,” Simpson of the outdoor green space across Kilwins and in the middle of the Town Center. “We really want to build a broad range of merchandising and use the indoor space to focus on core products and gifts, holiday gifts and office parties.”

“We need a good amount of square footage for the retail presentation,” Simpson said. “If you went to Kilwins in Florida, you’ll see a totally different experience. Kilwins, 20 years ago, is smaller, and ice cream- and fudge-driven, whereas our store will be driven as much by take-home items, especially those made in store.”

Simpson said his Kilwins will leverage the businesses and offices located in King of Prussia and in the vicinity of the Town Center.

“Our family itself, once we get King of Prussia satisfactorily up and successful, I’d love my son and his wife to do another store in the western suburbs,” said Simpson, adding the operators also considered South Jersey areas like Cherry Hill and Haddonfield before signing the lease in King of Prussia. “For us as operators, two would be our limit. We don’t think we’d have an appetite of doing more than two.”

Simpson said he does not plan to open a location in Center City. “There’s opportunity for Kilwins in Center City but not for us,” he said.

But, Simpson said, he believes there is more room for the Kilwins brand across Greater Philadelphia.

“Once we get the first up and running, I will personally be surprised if there were not at least five to six locations within three to five years, because there are many areas with demographics and traffic to do well with a Kilwins.”