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Shoppers picking up Valentine's Day sweets at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in Lehi probably don't know that the man and woman waiting on them at the store are an item — or that their romance started off, well, badly.

Seems that at Matt Canaday's graduation party in May 2011 at Missouri Western State University, he flubbed the big moment.

Canaday, now 26, didn't know much about Allie Humphrey, 24, other than she was the younger sister to one of the students he hung out with on campus. But Humphrey was attractive, and he was a bit giddy when he blurted out, "I think I love you."

They didn't see each other for months.

"I gave him a hard time when I saw him again," said Humphrey. "He got really embarrassed when I reminded him that he said he loved me. It was sweet, though. We've always gotten along, even from the beginning."

Canaday ended up moving to Lehi late last year to help Humphrey manage the chocolate store, taking a leap of faith and love that he credits to patience.

"We'd see each other now and then, and yeah, she'd tease me," said Canaday. "But I was dating someone and she was dating someone, and then the stars aligned."

They eventually became a couple after Humphrey had taken a class in the Craig School of Business that introduced her to a businessman who was willing to finance a student's entry into owning a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory franchise. Humphrey was selected, based on a business plan she submitted, and she decided to take a chance.

The Durango, Colo.-based company and its franchisees operate 376 stores in 42 states, Canada, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.

Humphrey initially moved to Omaha in July 2011 to manage a franchise, and Canady followed her.

The two sold the franchise, and picked up the store at the Outlets at Traverse Mountain on Cabelas Boulevard in Lehi, again with the businessman's backing. Franchises for new franchises cost from $300,000 to $500,000, depending on the location. Humphrey believed the Lehi store was in a better spot with more opportunities for growth.

"The recession hadn't hit Utah as hard as it did in other places," she said.

Which brings us to Valentine's Day, a big, big occasion in the chocolate business. Humphrey said sales at the Omaha store "went crazy" last February, and Lehi sales began escalating earlier this month.

With a good day Thursday and more good days down the road, the couple hopes to be able to open other stores, although they're not sure of the locations yet.

One thing is for certain, though. Humphrey still will be teasing Canaday about the night he blurted out exactly what he felt.

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Utah locations:

American Fork • 456 E. State Road

Layton • 936 N. Main St.

Lehi • Traverse Mountain, 3700 N. Cabelas Blvd.

Logan • 505 E. 1400 North, University Village

Midvale • 7702 South Union Park Ave.

Murray • Fashion Place Mall, 6191 S. State St.

Park City • 1385 Lowell Ave.; 510 Main St.

Price • 1191 E. Main St.

Provo • 4801 N. University Ave., Riverwoods

Salt Lake City • Gateway; City Creek; Trolley Square; airport

Sandy • 9335 S. State St.

South Jordan • 11580 S. District Drive

St. George • 250 Red Cliffs Dr., Zion outlets

Tooele • 1197 N. Main St.

West Jordan • 3781 W. Center Park Dr.

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