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A specialty chocolate, fudge and popcorn shop will fill the space formerly occupied by The Garlic Press Market Cafe in uptown Normal. The cafe closed in September and the new shop is expected to open in February.

NORMAL — A specialty chocolate, fudge and popcorn shop will fill the former Garlic Press Market Cafe in uptown Normal.

Garlic Press co-owner Sarah McManus said the space doesn’t have a name yet, but will open sometime in February.

“We’re really switching gears. We’ll be moving our specialty chocolates to that side and we’ll increase the variety. We’ll also be adding fudge and popcorn, both made on site,” said McManus.

The cafe kitchen will be adapted to make up to 50 flavors of popcorn, said McManus, including savory and spicy flavors in addition to the classic caramel, butter and cheese popcorn.

The new shop will also sell coffee, offer free WiFi and maintain limited seating inside and out.

McManus said the interior of the shop will be refigured to include display cases and more prep space for the fudge and popcorn.

Employees will be trained by professional popcorn and fudge makers before the store opens.

McManus said the new space will also likely sell coffee beans and specialty soda, formerly sold on the retail side.

“Since the candy and coffee and chocolate will move over into the new shop, that will ease some of our space crunch issues on the Garlic Press side,” said McManus. “We’re also going to rearrange the Garlic Press side so when people enter through the retail door, they will have a better view of the entrance to the shop.”

McManus said she and the other owners, Dorothy Bushnell and Pam Locsin, decided on the snack shop to keep the space “active and community-oriented.”

“We didn’t want to just sell something off a shelf. We want it to be about families coming in and hanging out. Especially when there’s music at Uptown Circle, people can wander through and grab a bag of popcorn and take it to that,” she said.

“It will be full of life and energy that will be a great complement to the Garlic Press.”

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Follow Julia Evelsizer on Twitter: @pg_evelsizer

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Public Safety Reporter

Public safety reporter for The Pantagraph.

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