Hoppin’ in chocolate

Published 9:38 pm Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Daily Star photo/KATIE ROHMAN Veni’s makes thousands of bunnies from scratch for Easter.

Sandy Bennitt’s job is to make chocolate bunny molds.

In fact, Bennitt is the only employee at Veni’s Sweet Shop who makes the various molds for the thousands of bunnies — from a couple ounces to five pounds — the store will produce this Easter season.

Bennitt has even committed to making a 3-foot-tall, 30-pound behemoth that will be on display and for sale.

Although the Niles shop creates St. Patrick’s Day confections, “the primary focus is Easter,” co-owner Linda Skwarcan said Tuesday.

The staff may be bustling in preparation for Easter, but the busiest season at Veni’s is Christmas, and the two busiest single days are Valentine’s Day and Feb. 13.

Skwarcan is appreciative of the reputation that keeps them hopping. Veni’s collected another statewide piece of publicity recently when it was ranked No. 2 on Pure Michigan’s “10 Great Sweets” list in its “Michigan Travel Ideas 2012” guide, which can be found at www.michigan.org/signup/travel-guide.

“There’s been a lot of responses on Facebook,” said Skwarcan, who has owned the shop for nearly four years with her husband, Larry. “We like to draw from outside, but we so greatly appreciate our Niles customers.”

Veni’s was also noted this year on Discover Kalamazoo’s “269 Cool Things to Do (In Area Code 269)” list and as a stop on a statewide chocolate tour.

Skwarcan attributes the store’s popularity to its “long-standing history in Niles.”

“It’s very fun and we have fun customers,” she said.

The No. 1 spot on Pure Michigan’s list belongs to Detroit’s The Rattlesnake’s Club, noted for its passion fruit dessert. Other regional businesses on the list include the Holland Peanut Store in Holland and Rachel’s in Constantine, which offers an ice cream eating challenge.

See the travel guide at www.michigan.org/signup/travel-guide.