Cacao, the 15-year-old downtown Portland chocolate shop, is the latest long-standing local business to announce its permanent closure.
But while it's tempting to assume COVID-19 has claimed another institution, that does not appear to be the case here.
Instead, co-owners Aubrey Lindley and Jesse Manis seemed to indicate that increased competition in what was once a small niche has pushed them in a new, as yet undetermined direction.
"As the market has grown and consumers have become more knowledgeable our role has changed," read the message on Instagram announcing the closure. "When we opened we helped introduce the world to a new way of thinking about and talking about chocolate, representing the first wave of American craft chocolate makers. The discovery and exploration continues but we are reevaluating where we fit in to that and what the future holds."
Indeed, when Lindley and Manis opened the store at 414 SW 13th Ave. in 2006, its array of impeccably sourced products inaugurated a craft chocolate boom in Portland, in some ways directly—Sebastian Cisneros, owner of Cloudforest, worked at Cacao for five years.
The store's last day in operation is, appropriately enough, Saturday, Oct. 31—otherwise known as Halloween—which will be marked by half-off deals as they clear out the inventory. Go and get your Gloop on.
In better news for those who worship their dark master the cocoa bean, Moonstruck Chocolate Co. is reopening its three Portland-area locations—in downtown, St. Johns and Beaverton Town Square—for the first time since March on Friday, Oct. 30. And to celebrate, the brand is launching a new product: vegan truffles, made from oat milk. And yes, Karen, one of the flavors is pumpkin spice.