The coronavirus shutdown has prompted a number of restaurants to permanently shutter, and now one of Austin’s best chocolate shops is joining them.
Chocolaterie Tessa owner Tessa Halstead announced on Sunday that she would be closing the shop at the end of the week for good, citing high rent, rising operating costs and a decrease in business due to the coronavirus.
"COVID-19 first hit our business with the loss of SXSW sales in early March," Halstead wrote in a blog post. "We had no idea at that time that we would be facing a prolonged collapse of wedding, event, wholesale and tourist business which accounts for the bulk of our summer revenue. Now, we are faced with the reality that those sales are gone and unlikely to return quickly."
Halstead opened the store in 2014 after having grown up in the chocolate business in Dallas, where her dad notably made European-style chocolates for high-end clients, including Neiman Marcus and Dean & Deluca.
Even though she’d opened pop-up shops during the holiday and expanded production at her Burnet Road facility, Halstead says that even in a good economic climate, the company "ended each year with more or less the same ever so slight profits," she wrote. "Meaningful growth is required to simply tread water."
To go out with "dignity and goodwill," Halstead said her team worked last week to make extra-large batches of chocolates for what they are calling a last hurrah sale. Customers can order them for pickup or delivery this week.