Local chocolate factory expands

gearhartsTim Gearhart's talents with tasty treats travel to Richmond.

Restaurateur Bill Hamilton, the brains behind Hamilton's, Sticks, and Gearharts Fine Chocolates (which he opened with former employee/pastry chef Tim Gearhart, in 2001), tells Dish that the local Chocolaterium is spreading its wings.

After eight years, during which time Gearhart's touch with the sweet stuff earned him a spot on Chocolatier Magazine's top 20 list, the shop is expanding to Richmond's Libbie & Grove neighborhood in the West End.

"We have been looking for the perfect spot there for about a year," says Hamilton, who also launched a Sticks in Richmond last year. " We'll continue to make all of our products here and deliver them to Richmond as needed." Tim Gearhart's brother, Matt, who has been with the company for a couple of years, will manage the Richmond operation, says Hamilton.

Despite the downturn, Hamilton says they've been able to expand their wholesale operations regionally over the past year, so he and Gearhart decided to take the plunge.