Carrie Rengers

Birds Eye Holdings purchases Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates assets

Beth Tully has sold the assets of her Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates.
Beth Tully has sold the assets of her Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates. The Wichita Eagle

At the end of what has been a tough year for Beth Tully, she has sold the assets of her Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates.

A subsidiary of Wichita-based private equity firm Birds Eye Holdings has purchased the assets.

Tully isn’t commenting beyond a release to confirm the sale.

Birds Eye principal Casey Voegeli commented through a prepared statement but wouldn’t discuss the transaction beyond that.

“We’ve known Beth Tully and her work for years and are extremely excited about our purchase of these assets,” Voegeli said.

“Our focus will be on working with Master Chocolatier Beth Tully to continue providing exceptional products and unparalleled customer satisfaction as the new company moves forward.”

In July, Have You Heard? reported that days after learning that a magazine named her Kansas City Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates the best new chocolate in the city, Tully closed that shop due to slow sales.

At the time, Tully said the store possibly was ahead of its time because the Prairiefire development where it opened isn’t complete and its next phase is behind schedule. She said she also wondered whether cooperative marketing at the center is working and said tenants have been struggling.

Tully said she had considered more established retail centers in the Kansas City area, but there weren’t openings where she wanted to be.

Then in October, Commerce Bank filed a lawsuit against Tully, her husband, Jay, and their Wichita and Kansas City stores seeking a principal sum of $272,336.88 plus expenses and fees on enforcement of a debt.

Tully said she couldn’t comment “other than to say it is a part of the ongoing consequences of the closure of the Overland Park store.”

Previously, Tully has said that the Bradley Fair Cocoa Dolce does twice the business that the Kansas City store did.

The first Cocoa Dolce opened in Wichita in 2005.

Birds Eye formed in 2013 following the Voegeli family’s sale of Exacta Aerospace. The company invests in various real estate projects and companies, along with buying the assets of businesses, around the Midwest.

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers