"The idea of this company is to be the next Starbucks of the chocolate industry," Rodriguez said.
"It's supposed to be as relaxed as Starbucks, but not coffee, it's chocolate," he said.
A new law for a new era
Though Rodriguez is excited about opening his shop in Arbutus, the option to sell their products online was not immediately available.
According to county law, a property such as the East Drive location that is zoned Business Local could be used for a candy store, "but goods made on the premises must be sold only at retail on the premises."
Because Jama Cocoa also wants to sell products on the Internet as well, 1st District Councilman Tom Quirk decided to create a bill for the County Council to allow that.
"I'm literally changing the law to help business in Arbutus," Quirk said.
His amendment to the bill states that a business may sell their goods online, but must maintain a retail storefront as well.
There was concern that, because the property includes a prominent storefront window on East Drive, retail might be sacrificed for online sales.
"Our concern was that we not lose the storefront window presence," said Terry Nolan, president of the Arbutus Business and Professional Association.
"If you're a nice candy store and you have nice candy in your window, that's certainly not a loss in any way," he said.
However, Quirk plans to ensure that retail face is upheld.
The County Council unanimously voted to approve an amendment to the bill stating, "except that retail sales may be supplemented with Internet sales provided that the retail component of the store fronts the street."
"Everybody saw the reason for this," Quirk said of the unanimous vote.
"I think that's the key thing, is that we're maintaining a retail frontage," Quirk said.
Quirk is excited to welcome the new business to the area and said it was time the law prohibiting online sales was altered.
"That's something we need to embrace," Quirk said of online retail. "And it's a code that's been long overdue for revision."
Nolan said he is glad compromise was reached and is eagerly anticipating the new chocolate store's opening.
"We welcome this business. We're glad we can reach an accord that will please everybody," Nolan said. "We look forward to their first batch (of candy)."