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Woodstock City Council OKs $150K loan for Ethereal Confections

Emily Bartoski caramelizes sugar for passion fruit truffles Feb. 12 at Ethereal Confections in Woodstock. The company is moving locations to the old Elks Lodge building across the historic Square from its current location.
Emily Bartoski caramelizes sugar for passion fruit truffles Feb. 12 at Ethereal Confections in Woodstock. The company is moving locations to the old Elks Lodge building across the historic Square from its current location.

The Woodstock City Council has approved a $150,000 loan to help Ethereal Confections relocate.

The chocolate shop plans to leave its location on Benton Street and expand into the former Elks Lodge building at 140 Cass St.

The project will cost more than
$1 million in building expenses, with an additional $333,263 in costs for furniture and equipment, according to city documents. Ethereal has requested a $150,000 loan from the city’s revolving loan account.

The account has a balance of $85,000, and the city would have to supplement the loan amount with general fund dollars. Ethereal Confections is expected to pay back the loan in seven years. The city will collect 2 percent annual interest, according to city documents.

The chocolatier hopes to continue to operate the café and retail space in the new building, with the addition of an incubator kitchen, speak-easy-style basement bar and event space.

“Our ambitions are certainly to grow, but to also create additional experiences, opportunity and growth for the community,” said Michael Ervin, who owns Ethereal Confections with Mary Ervin and Sara Miller. “The entire building will be 100 percent renovated. It’s an extensive, large project.”

The business sells its “bean to bar” confections around the world, and City Council member Mike Turner asked the owners at the meeting to consider advertising the city on its products with a subtle “made in Woodstock” or “RealWoodstock.com” label.

Real Woodstock is a marketing effort that aims to drive tourism to the city. Both Turner and City Council member Maureen Larson are part of the Promote Woodstock private-public partnership behind the campaign. Mayor Brian Sager said he supports the project.

“It’s a trend today to think about reimagining business,” Sager said. ‘[Ethereal] is a real-life example of that in our community. Business has evolved, and you have been able to embrace that and do that in a very realistic manner.”

The loan agreement passed unanimously, with Mark Saladin absent. Council member Dan Hart recused himself from the vote.

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