CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. — Mike Ritz is trying to help save Central Falls — one chocolate bar at a time.
While Central Falls is often called a “failed city” that was taken over by the state and later filed for bankruptcy, a new project is highlighting a very different story: its history as a chocolate manufacturer during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Ritz says the “Save Chocolateville” bar — honoring Central Falls’ nickname — recalls the tale of an American city that once thrived as a manufacturer, sank into decline and is trying to turn itself around. Proceeds will go to a yet-undecided program benefiting city children.
“Chocolateville to me represents the spirit of ingenuity, entrepreneurship, productivity, and — when that first mill building was created there — it was the heart of the community,” said Ritz, who heads the organization Leadership Rhode Island. The old Wheat chocolate factory that operated along the Blackstone River is pictured on the chocolate bar’s label....