Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Retail & Industry
Published on February 16, 2016
Rent Hike Forces San Francisco Chocolate Factory From Longtime 12th Street SpacePhotos: Brittany Hopkins/Hoodline

If you didn't get enough sugar this Valentine's Day, you may want to stop by the San Francisco Chocolate Factory on 12th Street just off Folsom to say goodbye and help clear the shelves. After 12 years at 286 12th St., the rent has tripled and the company has been forced to move.

The San Francisco Chocolate Factory's parent company has been in the import/export commodities business here in San Francisco for 30 years, said CEO Mike Litton. About 15 years ago, the company expanded into cocoa and soon began selling its own brand of artisan chocolates.

With the company's departure, so too goes the chocolatey mural full of local flavor that's adorned the building's facade for more than a decade. Litton says he did reach out to a handful of city officials seeking any solutions that could save the Chocolate Factory's home or, more important to him, just the artwork — like possibly having the location earmarked as a landmark — but did not receive any actionable responses. 

With his hands full running the small business, Litton has decided to let the building and the mural go. He's secured alternative office space not too far from their old home, although it won't accommodate a retail shop. Adding insult to injury, the landlord is trying to stick him with a $27,000 bill for painting over the mural, he said.

The San Francisco Chocolate Factory should be out of its longtime home by the end of this month. In the meantime, their retail shop at 286 12th St. is still open 12-5pm weekdays, and products left on shelves are all 50 percent off. 

Whether they'll be in their new space longterm has yet to be decided. But Litton said that they'll continue to sell their chocolates online, and likely offer the option to pick up orders at the new office once they're settled in.