The Original Mr. B - Dwight BarnesDwight Barnes was an artist and a leader.

The Minnesota native flourished as an area photographer — his skill evident in each portrait he developed. He was instrumental in founding the World Console of Professional Photographers, an organization that afforded Barnes regular opportunities to tour Europe honing his craft.

Barnes looked forward to travelling as much for the chocolate shops as he did for photography. He couldn’t help but appreciate the superiority of European chocolate — its taste, texture, freshness, and smell were masterpieces unavailable in the U.S. at the time.

Barnes was particularly drawn to Belgian chocolates which led him to befriend world-renowned chocolatier Hans Burie. For three months Barnes apprenticed for Burie before he returned to Willmar where, at the age of 56, he began his second career as a chocolatier.

Barnes opened his shop in 1987. It quickly became a regional icon, drawing visitors from across the region eager to see — and taste — Barnes’ masterpieces.

The chocolatier died in 2016 and his company was bought by another leader — civil engineer Brian Bollig. The new Mr. B’s Chocolates combines Barnes’ legacy with Bollig’s entrepreneurialism.

The result is a business that continues to faithfully serve the community that gave it its start while embracing opportunities to evolve and grow.

It’s a sweet combination that makes for an even sweeter place to shop.