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Last updated: Fri. Apr. 19, 2013 - 07:22 am EDT

DeBrand chocolate store opens in Kuwait

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A DeBrand chocolate shop has joined company with Tiffany, Chanel, Prada, Gucci, Armani and other high-end retailers at the lavish Avenues Mall in Kuwait.

The path to Kuwait started three years ago for the locally owned premium chocolate company when Rawan Al-Shaya of Kuwait tasted a DeBrand truffle. The chocolate lover was impressed, but knew nothing about DeBrand or where she could get more of the gourmet chocolates, according to a DeBrand news release.

In 2011 her husband, Rashed Al-Shaya, was in the United States. He told his wife that in celebration of the birth of their second child, he would bring a premium chocolate business to Kuwait, according to the release. Rawan reminded Rashed of how much she enjoyed that DeBrand truffle.

Rashed visited DeBrand and met with owners Cathy Brand-Beere and Tim Beere and negotiated a license agreement, according to the release. In the two years that followed, he used social media to spread the DeBrand name as he sought a location for the store, with 40,000 Instagram followers before the store even opened. To train the store's staff in the “DeBrand” experience, according to the release, two Fort Wayne DeBrand employees will spend six weeks living and working in Kuwait City.

The store opened April 7 with Cathy Brand-Beere, Tim Beere and their 17-year-old daughter, Audree, joining other guests for chocolates, desserts, specialty drinks, coffee and tea.

“We were able to spend two wonderful weeks in Kuwait and Dubai where we were treated fabulously by Rashed, his family, and his staff," said Brand-Beere in a statement. "We are excited about the grand opening and the enthusiasm they have for our chocolates abroad. We look forward to growing DeBrand both domestically and internationally.”

Al-Shaya plans to open more DeBrand locations throughout the Middle East, including Dubai and Saudi Arabia.

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