Apr 15th 2024

Platter's Chocolate Factory: Crafting a Sweet Third Space Experience

Have you ever visited Platter’s Chocolate Factory to visit with an old friend, hang out with your sports team, or grab an ice cream after your school’s Winter chorus concert? Thank you to those who have and for those of you who haven’t, well, this is your formal invitation. Wink, wink.

Back in 2016 when we chose to move from our candy store on Oliver Street to the iconic Wurlitzer Building across town, we had a few things in mind that were must-haves. First, we want to showcase our production behind glass that allows our visitors to see “How it’s Made” (we will talk about this in next month’s blog). Secondly, we wanted the opportunity to offer ice cream and add specialty coffees in a café all year round. With a lot of planning, I really do feel that what we’ve accomplished is both of our must-haves that we set out to do.

What we didn’t plan for is how the community would respond to this space we created in this old historic Wurlitzer Building. This concept of what I am referring to is known as a third space. It’s not a new concept and as a matter of fact, the concept has emerged as a vital aspect of modern living. Coined by sociologist Ray Oldenburg in his book "The Great Good Place." The third space refers to environments outside of the home and workplace where people gather, socialize, and engage in meaningful interactions.

Here is a look to further expand and briefly define a third space as I see it.

  • Your first space is your home – a place where we feel secure and can all be ourselves. Where we wake up each morning with our families and furry babies.
  • Your second space is often described as your work environment. With so many people working from home now, it may be a micro space described at your in-home office or even your dining room table.
  • Today, I want to talk about our third space. Where we spend time after work or on a weekend. Where we go looking for social engagement and a sense of community.

Third spaces come in various forms, ranging from cafes and parks to community centers and libraries and even a bar (Fattey Beer) or Sawyer Creek are a few of my favs. These spaces serve as hubs for spontaneous interactions, where individuals from all backgrounds come together to spend time with old friends, connect with classmates, enjoy family time, or simply unwind after a busy day.

What sets Platter’s Chocolate Factory apart from other establishments is that this space is continuously designed to allow people to come, gather, and stay awhile.

“For the community to come to Platter’s for community.”

Some of the things we feel important to offer in our space to create that welcoming experience include:

  • Large community tables, we had custom made, to allow for large groups and families to be together. These can seat up to 10 people!
  • Two fireplaces surrounded with sofas, side chairs, and end tables that feel like the comfort of your own living room.
  • Five large screen TVs for watching HGTV (you can count on us for streaming the latest trends in interior design) and the occasional Sunday football game. Go Bills!
  • A 600 square foot patio strung with outdoor ambient lights, furnished with tables, chairs, and even a dog bowl filled with fresh water.
  • Lots of table space and a few nooks that are ideal for someone to escape for a study session.

So, whether you’re looking to catch up with old friends, host a bible study group on a Saturday morning, celebrate your best friend’s birthday, or simply looking for a place to spend the afternoon on our sofa in front of the fireplace we invite you to call us your third space.

Thank you and I hope to see you enjoying the space we have curated especially for you.

Heidi Urban

P.S. – Shout out to our Friday Fireman’s Family who gather here weekly and catch up over a cup of coffee! We look forward to seeing you!