FORT COLLINS — Fort Collins residents and visitors had been satisfying their sweet teeth for the better part of three decades at Kilwins before the Old Town favorite closed last August.
Lovers of mint chocolate chip and Mackinac Island fudge can breathe a sigh of relief, for the popular ice cream, confections, chocolate and fudge shop will soon have a second lease on life.
New Kilwins Fort Collins franchisee Holli McElwee told BizWest Friday that the shop at 114 S. College Ave. is expected to reopen in early May.
Kilwins, founded in 1947 in Michigan, where the company is still headquartered, has Colorado locations in Denver and Parker.
The Fort Collins location first opened in 1996.
The Coloradoan reported in August 2022 that franchise owner Nora Hill attempted to sell the business before and during the COVID-19 pandemic before retiring last year, a decision coaxed along by her California-based landlord’s decision to raise the rent significantly.
When Kilwins reopens this spring, the “store will have received a facelift and refresh with some minor remodeling projects on the interior and new awning out front,” said McElwee, whose business experience includes roles in marketing, government affairs, public relations and sales.
McElwee told BizWest in an email that she fell in love with Kilwins as a student at Colorado State University.
“At Christmas time, I would scrape together my waitressing tips and buy peanut brittle,” she said. “This was a favorite treat of my father’s. I’d drive the four hours home to southwest Colorado, where my dad, sister and I would enjoy the brittle while playing cards and sharing stories.”
Kilwins can now count a new generation of McElwee’s family among its fans.
“I was looking through (my daughter) Frankie’s school work. I came across a paper, phonetically spelled, (that said,) ‘My mommy is going to own Kilwinz. I luv their ice cream and chocolate.’ She was so proud of this,” McElwee said. “It was at that moment I knew I needed to make the leap to become an entrepreneur and create delicious products and priceless experiences for others to share with their own family and friends. For me, it’s a special family affair.”