BEVERLY — A vacant building at 115 Cabot St. could soon be humming with the sights, sounds and smells of candy-making.
Winfrey’s Fudge and Chocolates, a family-run company based in Rowley, is in negotiations to buy the property, which has been empty since Rice Rental Center closed in 2009.
Mark Winfrey said his family has signed a purchase and sale agreement for 115 Cabot St. They hope to close on the property soon and begin renovations over the winter. The Winfreys plan to open a retail store there, with a glass partition that allows customers to see the candy, fudge and chocolates being made.
“We’ve always been interested in Beverly,” Winfrey said. “When this (property) came up, it really just fit like a glove. ... We’re all working very hard to make sure we have a strong company. We don’t like to take enormous risks, but we think this is a good fit for our company because of the location and the community we’re moving into.”
The purchase of 115 Cabot St. would be an expansion for Winfrey’s, which, in addition to its headquarters on Route 1 in Rowley, has retail shops in Hamilton, Wenham, Newburyport, Rowley and Stoneham.
Winfrey’s sells a variety of fudge, candies and chocolates, all of which are made in Rowley. Their products are sold in their own retail shops and other candy stores, farm stands, and gift shops.
The large, warehouse-style building in downtown Beverly would also be used for storage of merchandise headed to the company’s retail shops.
Last week, Beverly’s Zoning Board of Appeals granted Winfrey’s a variance to use the building for storage. They needed a variance because the building is in an area not zoned for warehousing. The Winfreys will also need a building permit before renovation work can begin.