Fort Wayne Speaks Podcast – #94.DeBrand Fine Chocolates Factory Tour

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DeBrand Fine Chocolates Factory Tour

This week, our family went on the factory tour at DeBrand Fine Chocolates.  It started out with a short video about the production process from its humble beginning as a cocoa bean to the chocolate candy that we know.  We were guided past the departments that are responsible for creating the variety of tasty fillings, signature collection pieces and completing the final product.  Of course, it was a bonus to have the opportunity to sample some of the most popular chocolates along the way.  Tours cost $5 per person but the good news is that your ticket is good for $5 off of a $10 purchase.  Of course, we couldn’t help getting something for the road.


DeBrand Fine Chocolates
10105 Auburn Park Drive
Fort Wayne, IN 46825
(260) 969-8333

Fort Wayne Speaks is a Podcast talk show created by the husband and wife team of David Shearer and Trinity Wilds. Their podcasts cover everything from interviews with local business leaders and innovators, to what’s going on around town – and much more! Check back here every Monday for a new podcast from Fort Wayne Speaks!


Fort Wayne Speaks


Fort Wayne Speaks is a podcast showcasing local talent professionals and everyday people doing exceptional things in and around Fort Wayne, IN.

Covington Plaza: A Great Place to Shop

Big shopping malls are great especially when you want to find name brand items but when you’re looking for something a little more unique with local flair check out Covington Plaza on Jefferson Blvd in Fort Wayne.  Here are a few of my favorite stops:

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Stop by The Olive Twist to discover unique olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and more!

Olive Twist

Known for their unique, high quality olive oils and balsamic vinegars the Olive Twist is foodie paradise.

B. Mitchel Fine Jewelry

Known for their beautiful, unique designs B. Mitchel Fine Jewelry will provide you with pieces that will make you stand out.

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Get dressed to the 9′s (or spruce up the man in your life’s wardrobe) at Christopher James Menswear.

Christopher James Menswear

Offering up the very best in Fort Wayne menswear, Christopher James Menswear dresses men with sophistication and style.


Jophiel provides exquisite fashions for Fort Wayne’s best-dressed women offering styles that are elegant and sophisticated

woodhouse Covington Plaza: A Great Place to Shop

Relax and unwind at Woodhouse Day Spa!

Woodhouse Day Spa

Let your cares go and relax in one of Fort Wayne’s best Day Spas.  Woodhouse Day Spa offers a variety of services in a relaxing atmosphere that is sure to bring you peace and rejuvenation

Cap n’ Cork

One of my favorite places to purchase wine, Cap n’ Cork can assist you in finding your favorite adult beverage.  From wine to beer to liquor their selection is as impressive as the knowledge of the team.

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Enjoy a delicious deli lunch, or take a ham home for the holidays at Honey Baked Ham.

Honey Baked Ham

A delicious and delightful meal is sure to be yours at Honey Baked Ham.  Whether you’re stopping in for a sandwich at lunch or picking up their exceptional meats to enjoy at home you’re sure to find something that fits your taste buds.


Providing some of the freshest seafood in Fort Wayne, Chapel’s will delight your taste buds.  Enjoy their delightful oysters, grilled fish, crab, and lobster paired with one of their signature cocktails or a glass of wine.

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Find the freshest groceries at Fresh Market.

Fresh Market

One of the most popular markets in town, Fresh Market not only provides great produce but also a butcher counter, deli, bakery, and groceries often hard to find in other places.

Other great places found in Covington Plaza are Belyst, Cakes Boutique, Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant, Catablu Grille, The Monogram Shoppe – and more! For more ideas to shop ’til you drop in Fort Wayne check out the Visit Fort Wayne shopping page!



Michelle Merritt moved to Fort Wayne in 2008 and has found it to be one of the most warm and welcoming cities she's ever lived or worked in. She and her husband Jason live and work in downtown Fort Wayne. Together they are blending their big city urban experiences into life in America's biggest small town. Michelle writes and manages The Momish Blog and the Merrfeld Manor Blog. She is also a contributor to Moms Fort Wayne and The Paperblog where she writes about the joys and challenges of step parenting. Michelle also works as a professional career coach and recruiter.

Winterfest Market Joins Fort Wayne Winter Farmers Market Scene

The newest market in town is set for a great start in 2014. Winterfest Market began in the fall and will be in full swing this year through May! Winterfest Market takes place on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month through May 10 at the Karpeles Manuscript Library, located at 2410 Fairfield, on Fort Wayne’s south side. The market runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

winterfest Winterfest Market Joins Fort Wayne Winter Farmers Market Scene

Here you will find locally grown produce, jams and jellies, coffee, baked goods, spices and more. The market is not limited to food though. Vendors also sell crafts and homemade items such as soaps, lotions, jewelry and other items.

market Winterfest Market Joins Fort Wayne Winter Farmers Market Scene

Help support this market in it’s first year by attending, and support the local regional economy through your purchase. Follow the Winterfest Market on Facebook to stay updated on vendor offerings and cancellations if weather is inclement. Alternatively you can email or call market organizers at 260.420.1943 or

Insider Tip: Also, while you are there consider a separate visit just to the museum. For more information the Karpeles Manuscript Library and the rich history this museum has to offer check out Kayleen’s post.


Previously a news reporter at daily newspapers in Indiana and Ohio, Holly Hammersmith now enjoys the lighter side of writing through freelance work. In her spare time, Holly can be found running or practicing yoga. She also enjoys visiting local coffee shops and day-tripping. Holly lives with her husband, dog Lulu and half a dozen houseplants. Find Holly on Twitter @HFHammers and at

Find Something Great at Something Old, Something New

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Something Old, Something New has something for any style.

OK, New Year’s Eve parties might be over, but you still need attractive, fashionable clothes in your closet for parties and other special events. The trick for me is usually (OK, always!) to find something within my price range.

It was thrilling to find a store that fit my needs on Fort Wayne’s south side. Something Old, Something New at 2519 Lower Huntington Road is a consignment shop of ladies apparel that is a cut above consignment shops I’ve visited in the past.

My adult daughter and I shopped here recently for the first time and were amazed at the wide assortment of clothes that, while worn before — hence the moniker ‘consignment’– hardly looked it.

The suggested items of complementary jewelry, hats and shoes was striking. My adult daughter is my real-life fashion diva, but it helps to have assembled outfits that take little thought.

Something Old 4 225x300 Find Something Great at Something Old, Something New

From vintage, to today’s trends, Something Old, Something New has a taste of everything you’re looking for.

The selection of black and white items pulled for a certain display really appealed to me as black is a color I wear often for contrast.

Searching through the sale racks, I was rewarded with a tailored white blouse which I consider useful for all seasons. I also purchased a teal shell which I could wear under the white blouse or other items in my closet, making it a fun summer addition to my wardrobe. The store does not charge more for plus-sized clothing which is a nice advantage.

Cost for both items: $15.00.

My daughter purchased a flirty blue blouse and some jewelry. Her total expenditure was also under $20.00.

We plan to re-visit this shop soon to see what wintry items might still be on the racks and check out their spring items.

While in Waynedale, I usually stop for lunch in a local restaurant like the Waynedale Bakery (2610 Lower Huntington Road, or Azar’s Big Boy Restaurant at the corner of Bluffton Road and Lower Huntington.

I can never be in the area and not stop in the Waynedale branch of Allen County Public Library located just down the street. They have plenty of DVDs and books to check out for winter weather.

Actually, forget what I said at the beginning. No female needs a reason to shop for something new to wear at a tiny cost! Visit Something Old, Something New and see if you can’t find a great item of apparel for your closet at a reasonable cost.

Something Old, Something New
2519 Lower Huntington Road

Mon-Friday 10:30 am-5:00 pm
Saturday 10 am – 1pm.

For more great shopping options for your visit to Fort Wayne, both smaller shops and our great malls, check out our shopping page.


Kayleen Reusser has written children’s books and had stories in Chicken Soup books. She writes features for the News-Sentinel newspaper and profiles for the Ossian Sun Riser. She loves to travel and write about her experiences at her website:

Beat the winter blues with a class at a Fort Wayne business

The weather outside may be frightful, but there’s no excuse for being bored in the Summit City. There are plenty of winter time classes to pique your interest, whether it be crafts or cooking, Here are a few to check out:

Soapmaking: Ah…soap. Who doesn’t love the clean smell of specialty soap? Learn how to make some you and your friends can enjoy at the Lather & Lotions studio, not far from downtown Fort Wayne. They emphasize the foundations so you can build upon the skills you’ve learned. The class topics change, but there is one in February focused on lavender products. 

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Artist Eran Park will show you the basics of glassblowing.

Glassblowing: Get your creative juices flowing with artist Eran Park of the Glass Park.  His two-hour introduction to glass blowing class is ideal for two people and costs $200. This is a great way to spend quality time learning something new and exciting with a loved one or friend. This class will focus on safety and the basics of flame-work style glass forming. Students will get a chance to see some glass demonstrations, learn about the tools involved, and if they feel like they are able get behind the torch.

Get cookin’: Country Kitchen SweetArt has been teaching cake decorating, candy making, cookie decorating, and other confectionery classes since the early 1970s. Check out their 2014 schedule to see what’s on tap. Then impress your friends and family with your caking decorating skills!

Get crafty: If you are interested in beginning knitting, Knitting off Broadway is the place! They offer private lessons during the week as well as Saturday mornings before the shop opens.  The cost is $30 for one hour of instruction. In one hour of beginning knitting, one can learn how to cast on, knit and purl!

So, what will it be? Any of these classes would be perfect for a girls weekend away. Winter is a perfect time to discover (re-discover) a hobby.


Lauren Caggiano was raised in Fort Wayne, and returned in 2007 upon graduation from the University of Dayton. The president of WriteOn LLC, she specializes in writing, marketing, and French translation. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, yoga and volunteering. In the summer you can catch her riding around downtown on her vintage green Schwinn. For more information, check out her website: