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New shop has found its sweet spot

By Bill Althaus Bill.althaus@examiner.net

When Jessica Washburn was searching for a name for her new artisan chocolate store in Blue Springs, she wanted something simple, yet something patrons would remember.

That’s when she found bliss – perfect happiness, contentment, joy – in the world of chocolate. She teamed up with her mother, Pat Jarstad, to open Bliss Chocolatier last month and has found it combines the best of three things she loves – art, science and food.

Jessica Washburn, the co-owner and head chocolatier at Bliss Chocolatier, and her mother Pat Jarstad, who is also a co-owner of the store, visit with patrons, left to right, Todd Mengel, Sophia, Nora, Jodi and John Turnbough at their artisanal chocolate store in Blue Springs.

“The candy is pretty and it tastes good,” said 6-year-old Nora Turnbush, who was visiting Bliss along with her brother John, sister Sophia and mother Jodi. 

While John selected key lime pie and Sophia a milk chocolate square, the mother/daughter combo wrapped the pieces of brightly colored, hand-painted candy in a Bliss box as the children looked at the variety of treats in the candy showcase.

The made-from-scratch bonbons are shiny and bright. 

“We believe every bite counts,” Washburn said. “We use the best possible ingredients and strive for beauty, flavor and texture – and we believe that no matter how delicious something is, it can always be better.

“It’s the pursuit of the perfect bite that brings us bliss.”

As she talks about some signature goodies such as key lime cheesecake, salted caramel and the signature chocolate squares, a customer enters the store and brings the mom and daughter combo a mini terrarium he created with one of their malt ball cylinder containers.

They found the perfect spot for the plant, with plenty of sun and eye appeal, and talked about the relationships they have created with their patrons.

“We love it when repeat customers come back and ask for their favorite bonbon, or try a new one, and fall in love with it,” Washburn said. “We approach every step in the creation of your favorite bonbons with love, care, and precision. It’s a lot of work, but we think it’s worth it.”

And judging by the smiles on patrons’ faces, so do they.

When Washburn and her husband Alan, an engineer at Burns and McDonnell, moved to Blue Springs from upstate New York with their six children – ages 19, 16, 14, 11, 9 and 5 – she wanted to do something special, something that would fill the void left from leaving the world of professional photography.

“I have always loved food, so I took a chocolatier class, and then trained with some of the master chocolatiers … in the world.”

“When I felt like I was ready to open a shop, we began looking for the perfect location.”

She thought she had found it in Lee’s Summit, but when it fell through at the last minute, she jumped in her car and drove up and down Missouri 7.

“I knew there were some empty suites on 7 Highway, and I was so lucky to find this one.”

The site had been the home of a cupcake shop that moved to downtown Blue Springs, so it had all the kitchen amenities she needed.

“I know a lot of people thought we were crazy for opening a shop during the COVID crisis, and we had planned to open in early 2020, but we felt like the time was right. We had the perfect location and a great product and wanted to open before Christmas, which is a great time to see our product.”

Bliss’ bonbons and chocolate squares have been so popular, many of the favorites have sold out.

“That’s good and bad,” joked Washburn. “The other day, I was up here from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., went home to tuck my little ones in bed, laid down in bed with my daughter for a moment around 9:30 or 10 p.m., then came back up here until 7 a.m.

“Being a chocolatier is a lot of work, but I love it. I love meeting people, I love being creative and I’m working with my mom, who is the best!”

Taste more

Bliss Chocolatier is at 3100 S.W. Missouri 7, Blue Springs. It’s open Tuesday through Friday noon to 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 816-655-2093, or go to hello@blisschocolatier.com, www.facebook.com/blisschocolatier, www.instagram.com/bliss.chocolatier