Toronto's favourite chocolate shop finally reopens after many long months
SOMA Chocolate, the boutique chocolatier known for its sweets, drinking chocolate and gelato has finally reopened in Toronto after several long months.
The chocolate store announced that after being shut down for three months, their King Street shop will reopen today and their Distillery location will reopen tomorrow, Thursday July 23.
It’s been 3 months since we shut down and the time has finally come... The KING ST shop will re-open on Wednesday July 22 The DISTILLERY shop will re-open on Thursday July 23 It’s been a busy month making fresh batches of chocolate and gelato to fill the shops again. More of your favourites will be added as this lovely team slowly grows again. To start, shorter hours: KING ST- Tues-Sat 12-8pm, DISTILLERY- Wed-Sun 12-8pm BROCK- open only for curb-side pick-ups store will re-open soon once we find our footing. The sweetest teams will be waiting for you at both locations. Both shops have been renovated to keep the community safe. Hot chocolate, truffles, gelato, & coffee drinks will be to go, masks and sanitized hands are mandatory. For now there is no seating at King but there is a carefully spaced patio at Distillery. We are so so excited to see you all again. The online store as always will be open for you (who knew so many of you shop in the middle of the night) and now you can do curb-side pick-ups in 3 different locations. And because so many of you are working at home Free shipping in Canada and Free Porch drops are still in effect. It’s been an emotional 3 months uncertain at times I have to tell you peeps- YOU are Amazing!! David and I really enjoyed meeting you on porch drops, the chats, the smiles, waves, meeting your super sweet kids and pets seeing you in your element. It was an unexpected and super lovely way to connect to you. Thank-you for all your support, messages of encouragement and all the generous gifts of dumplings, food, art pieces, cards and sanitizer. Hearts touched so full. See you all soon. #supportsmallbusiness
"Phase 2 came along and we just felt like the numbers were not safe yet," Cynthia Leung, who co-owns SOMA with her husband David Castellan, told blogTO about why they waited so long to reopen.
"We had some production people back and were following a sanitary protocol for the back of house but we weren't ready to introduce the public element of the store yet," Leung said.
"We took a month to renovate the two stores so they would be ready to reopen," she said.
The stores were upgraded with plexiglass and social distancing measures were put into place in anticipation for customers returning.
"If a customer's hands aren't sanitized or they don't have a mask on, they won't be allowed entry," Leung told blogTO.
"And inside they must socially distance," she said. "It's what society and our customers feel safe doing now - it's a little weird but everything is weird now."
According to Leung, when COVID-19 hit, no one really knew what was going on but the chocolate company felt lucky that they already had an online store in place.
"We developed that a couple years prior and that's what saved us," says Leung. "That’s what kept us afloat these past few months."
At the start of the pandemic, SOMA closed operations down for two full weeks. "We wanted the staff to quarantine and be safe and healthy," Leung told blogTO.
"We kept everyone's health plans in place - even for staff we had to lay off," she said. "It was really important that everyone had a health plan because this is a health issue."
During those initial two weeks, the SOMA team began planning how they would reopen for online sales with such a small team back.
"We also wanted to socially distance and do everything safely."
According to Leung, they were very paranoid at the beginning. "We would sanitize everything from doorknobs to our phones, and everyone would wear masks all day."
Leung also mentioned that all staff were required to change out of their clothes and put on lab coats and although the team was used to wonderful staff lunches, everyone ate lunch alone.
SOMA closed their doors to the public in March - three weeks before Easter, according to Leung, which is one of the chocolate company’s biggest times.
"That was when we fully shut down - no production," she said.
"We reopened one week before Easter with our online store and we had so many orders that day, we couldn’t keep up."
Leung says they couldn't get the orders out in time but that people were OK getting chocolate after Easter and the support was really "touching and overwhelming."
"Time and dates meant something different," she said.
With numbers starting to go down, SOMA has made the decision to reopen their doors to the public and their customers can't wait.
"We had to take the time to think it all through and we had a lot to do to make it safe," Leung said. "We had to wait for the right time."
"We had so many requests to reopen," she told blogTO. "It will be nice to see our customers in the store again."
Join the conversation Load comments