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Malley's Chocolates Restarting Production, Reopening Select Storefronts

Malley’s Chocolates is preparing to reopen as Ohio’s coronavirus-related business restrictions roll back.

Some of the laid-off maintenance and operational staff returned to the company’s production facility last week to prep machinery and sanitize everything, CEO Mike Malley said.

“We wanted to really take the opportunity to just get everything ready to go for staff that’s coming back this week as we ramp up production,” Malley said.

The 85-year-old candy company plans to reopen eight storefronts this week, Malley said. Seven more will open next week, and the remainder will open the week after that. All 22 storefronts should be back in operation by June, Malley said. Plans are also being developed to reopen the company’s ice cream parlors.

“We haven’t had anyone in the shops for seven weeks,” Malley said. “Even though the shops are clean, we still want to go through and sanitize the place.”

More staff will return this week, Malley said, but not everyone will be rehired right away. The Northeast Ohio chocolatier, ice cream and candy maker laid off 300 workers and closed all of its 22 storefronts in April due to the coronavirus.

“You do have associates that stand pretty close together,” Malley said. “We’re figuring out new ways in which to pack our candies and manufacture our candies so that everyone’s safety is top of mind.”

The company is working to acquire personal protective equipment for staff and customers prior to reopening, Malley said.

Those changes include stretching production over two shifts and limiting the number of people at each workstation. Even with reduced staff at the machines, Malley said, reopening means operations need to match up with customer demand.

“It’s not as simple as just saying, hey, everyone come on back, because we don’t want anyone just standing around,” Malley said. “Nor do we want them to feel like we’re jeopardizing their safety.”

On their return, Malley’s employees will be focused on ramping up production to make sure stores are stocked and ready to reopen their doors, Malley said.

“Most importantly, we’ve got to make sure we have enough candy in the shops,” he said.

Malley’s locations might also start using alternate methods of product delivery. Customers may be able to call or order online and just pick up candy at the curb. But some of those plans are still in the works, Malley said.

“It would be one thing if I had one store, but when you’ve got 22 stores, you just can’t roll it out to 22 stores at once,” he said. “What is going to change, I think you’re going to see a real, renewed emphasis on Malley’s promoting our takeout.”

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