One of Collingwood's newest downtown businesses is dipping into the food and beverage industry with a chocolate drizzle they're hoping will dazzle new customers.
Fruit Obsession specializes in fresh fruit creations including arrangements, platters, and boxes of chocolate-covered fruit, combining the concept of fruit baskets with designs inspired by flower bouquets.
Founded by William Horner and his wife, Kristy, Fruit Obsessions was created to offer a new way for gifting and sharing in South Georgian Bay.
“I don’t think that we can try to sell fruit dipped in chocolate as all that healthy,” Horner laughed. “But it is a tough world out there right now, and being able to sit back and indulge with some fruit dipped in chocolate can bring a few moments of bliss.”
Horner grew up in Collingwood and has always been involved in the community. He served on the Town of Collingwood Youth Advisory Committee, is the former organizer of the Collingwood Kids of Steel Triathlon and for 10 years was the organizer of the Collingwood Terry Fox Run.
His grandpa also used to own the Gold Boutique, which became a staple of the downtown Collingwood business community for over 30 years.
“In our minds, we always wanted to own something in Collingwood,” he said.
The Collingwood couple now lives in Edmonton, and split their time between Alberta and Ontario. Flash foward to the pandemic, an opportunity to start another business presented itself, so they jumped on it.
“I think a lot of businesses start when you are trying to solve a problem or frustration,” said Horner. “During the pandemic we found it really challenging, not being able to get home to see family but also getting a little tired of traditional long-distance gifts for Christmas and birthdays.”
Horner always loved receiving chocolate covered strawberries from his wife on special occasions and they had heard of other independent businesses that offered similar creations. They loved the idea and thought it would be really cool to bring something so unique in their hometown, “and a whole bunch of dominos fell in place to make that happen,” said Horner.
They started brainstormng the idea in January 2021, just as Ontario was heading into another round of heavy restrictions. Through a family connection, they learned that the space the old Graphic Warehouse used to be located in was available, so they signed a lease in March.
“We really wanted to be on the main street,” said Horner.
He also knew that in order to run the business successfully, they would need a key leader who was trustworthy, artistic and creative, and also based locally and connected to the community.
Horner's uncle and best man, Michael Koshilka, was just that.
Koshilka’s family moved to the Collingwood area when he was young to open a motel along old Highway 26. Later, they went on to own the Gold Boutique.
He is an accomplished figure skater who was inducted into the Collingwood Sports Hall of Fame, and he had just recently retired from 30+ years as a certified figure skating coach.
“He was willing to hang up his skates to do something wild and crazy and new,” said Horner. “We knew that was the one piece… Had that not really fallen into place we probably wouldn’t have moved forward.”
With his uncle on board — Fruit Obsession was born.
The team spent the summer and fall renovating the historic building and on Nov. 10, 2021 they officially opened their doors.
The backbone of the business is fresh fruit dipped in Hershey, semi-sweet chocolate. However, they also have cheesecakes, turtle pies, red velvet cake, smoothies, and bake fresh cookies every day. There are also additional items that can be added to an order, such as handwritten, customized cards, balloons, and teddy bears.
“We want it to be a one-stop-shop if you need a gift or something special for someone,” said Horner.
Every single item in the store is made and prepared by staff fresh that day. Koshilka and the local team hand dip, decorate and design everything themselves and visit the Ontario Food Terminals in Toronto a couple times a week to keep up their supply of fresh fruit.
“That is the name of the game for us, so when you come in off the street or place an order online, the items that you are picking up or that get delivered are made by our staff that same day,” Horner said.
They have been open for three months now, and Horner said he couldn’t be happier with the response they have received from the community.
“The last three months have been fantastic, we were welcomed with open arms,” he said. “A lot of people gave us the chance to dazzle them over the Christmas season, whether it was with our edible bouquets or platters or dipped fruit boxes.”
Now, with Valentine’s Day around the corner, they have created a number of specialty items available from February 1 until the 20.
“Our whole motto this year is we want to help you celebrate Valentine’s Day your way, on your day,” he said.
The storefront is open seven days a week and also offers delivery locally.