Discovering Woodburn & Beyond… Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

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Written by Ty Walker, Staff Writer

Everybody knows that Woodburn Premium Outlets — or “The Mall,” as locals call it — is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Oregon.

But do you know what the most popular candied treat at The Mall’s Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is? Caramel apples.

With all the delectable chocolates, truffles, toffee, turtles and ice cream from which to choose, customers pick caramel apples more than any other confection at the candy shop.

Whether dipped in pecans or peanuts, hibiscus or rocky road, the candied caramel apples are a must at The Mall.

“By far our most popular biggest sellers are caramel apples,” shop co-owner Amanda Keeling said. “We make them in-store five days a week.”

But don’t just take the owner’s word for it. Hear what customers are saying online at Yelp:

“I can’t resist their caramel apples dipped in chopped peanuts!” Kim G. of Portland said. “The tart, crisp green apple is the perfect vessel for the gooey, buttery caramel. The salty peanuts add that final and necessary texture and flavor component. See why I can’t pass this up?”

Customer Irene S. of San Diego raved: “If you are looking for exquisite chocolates? This is the place! I had the pleasure of visiting this store. Meeting the owners Amanda and Andre was awesome! My apples were a special order. The chocolate coating was thick and absolutely delicious!”

The candy shop business is brisk year-round, especially during the summer travel season when ice cream sales soar as the temperature rises.

“Summer candy business is good as long as it’s below 90 degrees,” Keeling said. “Above 90, we’re selling ice cream.”

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory sells a variety of locally made ice cream flavors, including chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, cotton candy, moose tracks and chocolate chip cookie dough.

Keeling and her boyfriend, Andre Cintron, have owned and operated the Woodburn Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory franchise for six years. They met in her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, and attended a course on entrepreneurship at Missouri Western University.

Rocky Mountain was a partner with the university program that helped the entrepreneurs get funding to buy a franchise in Woodburn.

Keeling and Cintron now live in Wilsonville. When they’re not at work, they’re likely taking their dogs, Lucy and Lady Bird, for a walk.

What does the chocolate factory offer — besides the best caramel apples in town — that sets it apart from its candy/confectioner’s competitors?

“We try to focus on customer service,” Keeler said. “We say yes as much as we can and no as little as we can, without breaking the bank. Our goal is to understand that we’re all just people and to do what we can to make the customer happy.”

Keeler said she makes special order custom design goodies for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. Other popular treats are breakable hearts with personal inscriptions on them: anything to make the customer happy.

The shop is open daily. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday–Friday, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday.