Beth Tully to open second Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates in Overland Park

UPDATED — Beth Tully is taking her second step toward what she perhaps only half jokingly calls world domination.

The Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates founder is opening her second store, this time in Overland Park’s Prairiefire development on West 135th Street between Nall and Lamar avenues.

“We’re going to think of Wichita as the hub and that this is the first spoke in the wheel,” Tully says.

Yes, that means she’s already thinking of other potential regional stores, though none is in the works yet.

“I think you only double the complexity of a business once, and this is it,” Tully says.

The idea, she says, is to create a template that can be reproduced.

“We’re basically going to do kind of a tweaked version of our lounge here,” Tully says of her Bradley Fair store.

Tully and her husband, Jay, opened their Wichita store in 2005 in Siena Plaza at 37th and Rock Road and then moved to Bradley Fair in 2009.

Tully says she has long thought about a second store.

“The honest truth is probably in our first year of business, way when I shouldn’t have been have been thinking of having a second location,” she says.

She knew that “as a really baby business” she couldn’t realistically do a second store then.

“We’re kind of a sophomore business now,” Tully says. “We’ve finally gotten over the hump.”

She says she has about eight full-time managers, which is the only reason she can consider growing.

“It was a very compelling argument to grow.”

Tully has a production facility in Comotara, which is what will supply her store in Overland Park.

In addition to selling chocolates there and serving wine, chocolate and gelato in her lounge, Tully also is looking into serving cheese as well. She says she’s always considering new ideas and innovations.

Tully says she’s had her eye on Prairiefire for years and was “living with some regret” thinking she’d missed her opportunity to go there.

The first phase of the $427 million mixed-use development is more than 200,000 square feet and will include the Museum of Prairiefire, which is a project that’s a collaboration with New York’s American Museum of Natural History.

A couple of Tully’s neighbors from Bradley Fair — Newport Grill and Fresh Market — will be at Prairiefire along with REI and KISS frontman Gene SimmonsRock & Brews among other businesses.

Prairiefire debuts this fall, and Tully’s 1,800-square-foot store is expected to open in early April.

In a statement, developer Fred Merrill Jr. said that Tully’s store “embodies the luminary, first-to-market retailers who will bring life to all that Prairiefire is designed to be.”

“As one of the Midwest’s premier chocolate stores, Cocoa Dolce will offer original creations and flavor combinations that are new to Kansas City. We believe the store will be a favorite destination for connoisseurs and casual chocolate lovers alike.”

Tully knows what lies ahead.

“We’re just super excited — and tired,” she says. “Tired already. I feel a lot of long nights coming up.”