The chocolate economy is looking a touch bitter this Easter.
“We’re taking a philosophy of being there for our customers,” said Dave White, the owner of Olde World Confections. “Nobody’s making any money right now but I feel it’s important to be here with the doors open.”
A mainstay at Lonsdale Quay, the store still boasts Callebaut Belgian chocolate bunnies and eggs as well as the shop’s signature fudge and peanut brittle. However, White is bracing for slim profit margins this season.
“Usually it’s monstrous,” he said of Easter sales. “It’s not going to be.”
With deliveries proving cost prohibitive, White is largely reliant on walk-in customers – some of whom seem surprised to see Quay stores still open and operating.
“We’re very grateful for their support right now,” he said of the store’s customers. “We’re struggling to pay the bills like most people are.”
Straight up the hill in Central Lonsdale, Daniel Le Chocolate Belge has been closed for two weeks and there are no plans to re-open the pastry/chocolate shop in the immediate future, said Daniel Chocolates vice-president Monique Poncelet. However, the shop’s chocolate went to a good cause, Poncelet added, explaining they delivered a batch of sweets to frontline workers at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. There was a plan to make a similar delivery to Lions Gate Hospital but the logistics proved a challenge, Poncelet said.
“They were concerned because they are much more exposed there than [at] St. Paul’s.”
Besides selling their wares at Fresh St. Market on Marine Drive, Daniel Chocolates is still running its factory store in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. five days a week.
While they keep the front door closed, the factory’s skeleton crew is admitting a maximum of two customers at a time to choose packaged chocolates.
“When people come in we give them plastic gloves. It’s safer for everybody,” Poncelet said. “They leave with the gloves.”
Ideally, customers should call or email their order before arriving at the factory. “So when they come they just pick it up and go.”
The company is also offering free shipping on orders of $45 or more throughout B.C. However, customers using PayPal have found $12 added to their bill, Poncelet said, explaining they are in the middle of trying to get that fixed.
In Edgemont, BjornBar Bakery is asking customers to call in their order between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. and pick up their cherry turnover and jam danish the next day.
Located on East First Street, Coconama is continuing to offer its unique brand of fusion sweets with free delivery for all orders of more than $20. The shop is also offering car service and limiting payment to debit and credit card. Free samples are currently off the table. Coconama is also offering their goods through Uber Eats.
Thomas Haas Chocolates is continuing to operate although the café, which is marked with green tape to enforce social distancing, has switched to takeout only. The shop is also allowing customers to pay in advance and wait in their car off Harbourside Drive while an employee delivers the chocolates.