Chocolate and Cashmere specialty shop opens in Breckenridge
BRECKENRIDGE — Chocolate and Cashmere, a new store that has opened in Breckenridge, has its roots in New Mexico.
Owner Haleigh Palmer opened a store in Taos, New Mexico, in 2012 with cashmere products and specialty chocolates. Palmer brought the store’s comfort concept to Summit County because, like Taos, Breckenridge is a ski resort town that prides itself on handmade products.
Chocolate and Cashmere has humble beginnings with Palmer making hats at home with a knitting machine. She later attracted attention through an advertisement she placed in the New Yorker for her cashmere watch cap.
“The basis of the business is the cashmere watch cap, which I still have the ad in the New Yorker,” Palmer said. “It just is really wonderful. … It’s one of those tried-and-true products that lasts for a long time.”
The first eight years of her business were solely online until the shop opened in 2012 with cashmere products and chocolates. Palmer thought the two would be a good combination and said the chocolate would help sales in the summer. Palmer opened a second store in Santa Fe in 2014.
After visiting Breckenridge in the winter, Palmer decided the store would make a good fit in town.
“I spent a Christmas here in 2017, and I was freezing, and I forgot my cashmere at home,” Palmer said. “So I genuinely felt that people could use what we make here, and I think the demographic reflects similarly to Taos and Santa Fe, where it’s a captive tourist economy.”
Chocolate and Cashmere opened for business at 105 Ski Hill Road in Breckenridge in early October. The store is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and features mountainscape paintings and a floor painting that’s meant to look like a Persian rug. The chocolate and cashmere products are made in Santa Fe, and the chocolates are organic and free of preservatives.
The cashmere products are meant to be quality, investment-type pieces, so Palmer includes a lifetime guarantee that allows buyers to send them back for repairs should, say, a hole or knit balls form. Cashmere products range in price, from a women’s headband at $75 to a men’s sweater for $560. Boxes of four bonbons cost $12.50.
Palmer said the products have been well received by locals and visitors in Breckenridge.
“I think it’s refreshing to have something handmade and locally made and also be useful and beautiful,” Palmer said. “I think our store is kind of a little niche, it has that kind of integrity, I feel.”
Kalyn Lepre, the store’s experience manager, started working at the new location in September. As a massage therapist who’s spa closed due to COVID-19, she was hunting for opportunities and heard about the concept from Palmer’s husband. Lepre said she found it to be a perfect fit.
Lepre has lived in Summit County for three years and believed the shop would fill a luxury market space in town.
“(The store) hits those senses of luxury without it being kind of pretentious,” Lepre said. “We didn’t really have that kind of concept of two items that are very specific. We’ve got a lot of really cute boutiques that sell a variety of things, but we didn’t have, in my opinion, a really niche with high-quality chocolates or a high-quality hat store or scarves, and that’s really what we are, is we’re all about just a fine hat experience.”
Lepre said that based on survey feedback, she’s found that the name of the store has brought people in. She said people often buy the store’s cashmere as a unique gift for the person on their list who “has it all” or as a timeless piece for themselves.
As for health precautions, Lepre said people can call ahead and have pieces set aside for pickup, schedule private shopping sessions or shop online at ChocolateCashmere.com. Customers also can call ahead to get a fresh shipment of chocolates or order a larger quantity of chocolates than what is carried in the store.
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