Morley of Eastpointe soon to be Sanders of St. Clair Shores

By: Kristyne E. Demske, Sara Kandel | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published January 31, 2013

 The old Morley Candy Maker store, located on Nine Mile Road just west of Kelly, is set to close Jan. 31.

The old Morley Candy Maker store, located on Nine Mile Road just west of Kelly, is set to close Jan. 31.

Photo by Sara Kandel

EASTPOINTE/ST. CLAIR SHORES — Beginning with the closure of the Eastpointe store Jan. 31, Morley chocolate will be much harder to find in the future.

“We wanted to push the Sanders brand because it is a lot more well-known and we are trying to grow and expand,” said Brian Jefferson, CEO of Morley Candy Maker/ Sanders.

Despite the economic woes of the region, the Morley company has seen considerable growth throughout the last few years, finding spots on the shelves of more than 10,000 stores across the United States and expanding their sales internationally to Japan and New Zealand.

Focusing on Sanders’ widespread success, company shareholders made the decision to close the Eastpointe location, on Nine Mile Road, just west of Kelly, and open a new, more spacious storefront in St. Clair Shores.

The new location of the storefront, which signs proclaim to be a Sanders retail and factory outlet store, is in the Shores Plaza on the southwest corner of 13 Mile Road and Harper Avenue. It is taking the place of EZ Fitness, next to the Hallmark Gold Crown Store.

“The decision was based on the desire to have a bigger Sanders footprint with a location that could house an ice cream bar and baked goods counter,” Jefferson said.

At 5,200 square feet, the St. Clair Shores site is more than four times the size of the Eastpointe store, which Jefferson estimated to be approximately 1,200 square feet.

“We wanted the new location to have pallets of items on sale to give it a more outlet feel,” Jefferson said.

But the biggest draw of the new location is the traffic.

“It’s fairly close to the old location, but there is much more traffic. It’s located in one of the busiest hubs in St. Clair Shores.

The new store was originally slated to open Feb. 1, but the date is likely to be pushed back.

“We expected to be open earlier, but we will still be opening sometime in February,” Jefferson said. “Hopefully, some of the customers from our old location will come see us there. We will have ice cream and better deals.”

Jefferson added that he was excited to be moving into St. Clair Shores, where the business will have the chance to continue to grow and prosper.

St. Clair Shores Mayor Kip Walby said he’s sad the city lost the National Coney Island restaurant in the same shopping plaza, but is happy for what the Sanders development means for the city.

“We’re excited. It’s good for the city; it’s good that these kind of companies want to come to St. Clair Shores. It talks about the strength of the city,” he said.

And filling up empty storefronts, he agreed, is “always a good thing.”

The company joins several other well-known brands moving into St. Clair Shores, like a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant that will be built on Harper Avenue, just north of Nine Mile Road.

Also, Walby said, “they haven’t been yet to (Community Development and Inspection), but Tin Fish looks like it’s coming in to take the place of the Beach Grill,” on Jefferson Avenue at the Jefferson Beach Marina.

“That is good news for St. Clair Shores, good news for the Nautical Mile.”

And, although they are losing a business to their neighbor, not everyone in Eastpointe is seeing it as a glass half-empty.

“I’m sorry to see any business go, if it is not being replaced, but being redevelopment-ready, we embrace change,” said Eastpointe City Manager Steve Duchane. “As often with a small store such as this leaving, other opportunity is created.”