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Profession: Business Owner, Chocolates & Candlelight
Age: 43 • Years in Wood Buffalo: 23

Our community’s “Chocolate Lady”.

43-year-old Melanie Ference moved to Fort McMurray 23 years ago in search of a new start. She found it as a legal assistant with Campbell & Cooper, and met her future husband that same year.

Melanie purchased her first chocolate-based business in 1994, and opened her retail location, Chocolates & Candlelight in 1999. In her business, Melanie strives to offer a great experience to anyone who stops in, recognizing that she could have the best chocolate in the world, but without the special experience to go with it, no one would care.

Community involvement is Melanie’s main goal as a resident...something she has taught her two kids, 19 and 16, who also contribute to the community. As a business, Melanie has reached out and supported many groups, foundations and events, and remains a strong supporter of sports groups, individual needs and large community events such as the Keyano Gala and the Festival of Trees.

In her free time, Melanie enjoys reading, walking, running, and cooking, and when asked what her favourite thing about living in Wood Buffalo is, she’s quick to mention the people, and how they care for one another.

The fact that Melanie keeps our community in chocolate is enough to make her one of YMM’s Top 50 Under 50, but it’s her giving spirit and commitment to contributing that are the true reasons.

IN HER OWN WORDS: “Sometimes others see areas you will shine in before you do; that’s one of the greatest things about Fort McMurray. There are opportunities to do, and be a part of, many amazing events and groups. You just simply have to want to do so.”