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ACKC may sound like a kennel club, but it’s really a cocoa bar, chocolate shop, and art gallery run by business partners Rob Kingsbury and Eric Nelson, who opened the operation last year on 14th Street NW, just up the way from the now-defunct Viridian. ACKC is an acronym for Artfully Chocolate (Nelson’s business in Del Ray) and Kingsbury Chocolates (Kingsbury’s in Old Town), which combined their talents for this first foray into the D.C. market.
Now just months into its existence, ACKC plans to open a second store in the former Sundae Times space in Alexandria, says Kingsbury. The new store, located at 2003A Mount Vernon Ave., is scheduled to open in early March. Unfortunately in this law of confectionary equilibrium, one door opening means another one closing. Nelson plans to close Artfully Chocolate around the time the new ACKC opens.
At 900 square feet, the second ACKC will be less than half the size of the original off Logan Circle. As a result, it won’t have a cocoa bar where you can sit on a stool and yak with the person making your hot chocolate, but it will offer the same chocolate-based drinks named after Hollywood starlets such as Lucy, Joan, Judy, and the rest of those one-name wonders. It will also feature Nelson’s artwork as well as Kingsbury’s chocolates and a small kitchen so patrons can see how chocolatiers go about their work.
Kingsbury says he and Nelson have been approached about opening more ACKCs, but have resisted the calls so far. First starters, neither one has the “time and money right now,” and secondly, neither wants to take on investors just for the sake of expanding. “We’re not looking at [the business] in that corporate sense,” Kingsbury says. “It’s just our business that we’re putting our heart and soul into.”