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Schakolad gains new franchisee

After joining the ranks of the unemployed, Gus Paredes has invested in a future as a business owner.

The Guat-emalan native is the new franchise owner of Schakolad in Turkey Creek.

“My family fell in love with the store, and I like the potential that it has,” Paredes said.

“I just wanted to be on my own; I wanted to have my own business,” he added.

Paredes said he was looking at a vacant spot next to the chocolate shop when the chain owner, who was manning the store, stopped him.

“He said the store was for sale, and then he explained to me about the concept.

“I liked it, and here I am. The rest is history, basically,” he said.

Paredes said customers shouldn’t expect drastic changes at the store, besides the shop’s new extended hours.

“We are trying to catch the late dinner customers in the area,” he said.

“We will try to improve the customer service, and one of the major changes I’m trying to do is to aggressively promote the store any way I can,” Paredes said.

But the quality of the chocolate will be the same. In fact, Paredes said they now were offering customer-favorite chocolate covered strawberries year-round.

So far, customer reaction has been positive, he added.

The store certainly is a retail establishment, Paredes said, but Schakolad also does “corporate work and a lot of customized gifts.”

“We’ll also provide birthdays, where we take children on the ‘chocolate experience,’ and adults, on our ‘sweet night out’ [events], where they can learn about chocolate,” he said.

“We’ll be flexible and work with anyone, work with them to give them a ‘chocolate experience,’” he added.

Paredes, born in Guatemala, was raised in New Jersey. His career brought him to Knoxville, he said.

“I came to the states 30 years ago pursuing the American dream,” he said.

Paredes was laid off “not too long ago” by an Oak Ridge company.

“It just happened, perfect timing,” Paredes said.

Schakolad is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.

Call the store at 865-675-2626 or visit


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