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Four Sanders Chocolate & Ice Cream Shoppes in Metro Detroit will remain closed for good even after the lifting of Michigan's stay-at-home order amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The closures are a part of a new retail strategy in response to changing consumer demand that values experiences — a trend that has accelerated because of the COVID-19 crisis, according to the native Detroit candy brand that was acquired by Madison Heights-based KNPC Holdings LLC, the manufacturer of Kar's Nuts, in 2018.

Stores in Grosse Pointe, Livonia's Laurel Park Place, Novi's Twelve Oaks Mall and St. Claire Shores will not reopen, affecting 15 full-time and 20 part-time employees. The company is working to place as many as possible at other stores or facilities.

Locations in Clinton Township and downtown Rochester will reopen Tuesday. The company is taking over space adjacent to its Clinton store for an innovation center, which will provide customers at both locations the ability to sample new candies and other desserts prior to nationwide distribution. The center could be open as early as July, said Bill Elam, Sanders president. The company also will resume tours at its Clinton manufacturing facility.

The changes will not affect licensee-owned and operated stores in Wyandotte and on Mackinac Island.

bnoble@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble

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