The (secret) ingredient is always chocolate at a Haddonfield shop that’s opening a second outpost on the Ave.
MECHA, a handmade confection chocolate store that’s coming soon to 1618 East Passyunk Avenue, will be sure to satisfy every chocolate craving.
Melissa Crandley, the owner, brain, and hands behind MECHA, was a financial analyst in a former life. But she decided to make a career change. After attending the Culinary Art Institute of Philadelphia and working in several renowned kitchens in Philadelphia, she discovered her passion for (making) chocolate, which is a skill that requires 100% dedication.
In 2012 Melissa started making confection chocolate out of a 111 sq. ft. communal space that she repurposed into a tiny commercial kitchen. She sold her chocolates at farmers markets. After getting some name recognition, she expanded the kitchen space and began selling her chocolates through third party stores, like her new East Passyunk Avenue neighbor Occasionette, before opening her first brick and mortar store in Haddonfield, NJ in 2019. About two years ago, the Haddonfield store hit capacity. Opening a second location has been a year in the making. Lucky for us, MECHA landed on a location in East Passyunk where the store will be open seven days a week.
2023 has been a year of many exciting new developments for MECHA. Besides running the Haddonfield store, revamping the store’s website, and preparing the East Passyunk location, MECHA has also acquired a new 4800 sq. ft. production facility in Hainesport, NJ. The larger production facility was necessary to support a second location and will also allow MECHA to expand their offerings to include hazelnut and other spreads and create new flavors that require larger machinery.
According to Melissa, MECHA will offer chocolate flavors and structures that are ever-evolving, “The beauty of chocolate is that there is always something new to create, to try and to experiment with.” New and more difficult techniques are developing and Melissa and her staff stay up to date on what is available through classes and even create their own techniques to achieve the desired flavor combinations and structures. Walnut pralines and mango passion fruit-coated caramels are two flavors you’ll be unlikely to find anywhere else. Melissa describes them as modern, yet familiar.
MECHA uses real ingredients instead of flavor additions which gives the chocolates a much more authentic taste. This oftentimes requires the chocolatiers to be creative and think outside the (chocolate) box.
For those wondering about the background of the name MECHA—it is a combination of the names of Melissa and her husband Charles. Although not technically part of the business, Charles has been essential in getting the first location opened, so a little part of him is embedded in the enterprise as well.