The Original Mr. B – Dwight Barnes (1987 to 2016)
Born and raised in rural Minnesota, the late Dwight Barnes was the original Mr. B. Dwight was a photographer by trade and opened his first photography studio in 1953. It was during his 55 years as a professional photographer that Dwight’s love for chocolate launched him into a second career as a Chocolatier.
As the founder and leader of the World Console of Professional Photographers, Dwight often traveled to Europe throughout his career where he frequented many of Europe’s best bakeries and chocolate shops. It was during these travels that he began taking an interest in discovering a way to bring these gourmet European chocolates to the U.S. Finally, on a trip to Antwerp, Belgium, he happened on “the best chocolatier in the world,” Mr. Hans Burie. Dwight decided it was time he became a Chocolatier himself and convinced Mr. Burie to mentor him. Dwight spent three months in Belgium side by side with Mr. Burie who taught him how to make his finest chocolate from scratch.
Upon Dwight’s return to the U.S., he began making Belgian chocolates for family and friends. The word quickly spread and soon Dwight was making chocolates for local and statewide special events and businesses. Once people tasted Dwight’s chocolates, they were hooked and asked for more. This led Dwight to officially go into the chocolate business and he opened Mr. B’s in Willmar, Minnesota in 1987.
Mr. B’s has won several awards throughout the years including the “Taste Of Chocolate” in Bloomington and “Best Chocolate” by the Star & Tribune. Although very proud of these awards, Dwight considered his customers’ satisfaction as the highest honor and award.
In 2009, Mr. B’s eldest daughter, Kathy, and her husband, Steve, took over the chocolate business while two of his other daughters remained actively involved – Sue ran the kitchen and Mary, the retail store. Even then, Dwight was never far from the chocolate shop and worked up until a year before he died at the age of 86. At that time the decision was made to allow a new owner to continue the Mr. B legacy. Brian Bollig purchased the business in 2017 and has made the commitment to continue to share Dwight’s passion for bringing fine chocolates to the world.