Like many businesses, store manager Tova Behboudnia says Chocolate Emporium, which recently moved back to University Heights from South Euclid, has been forced to adapt to regulations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everybody’s working kind of separately, wearing masks, gloves – my store is closed,” Behboudnia said.
She let go of employees that held other jobs and for the last six weeks has kept the store going with five employees.
Luckily, clients have continued to buy chocolate during the pandemic, Behboudnia said. The store has incentivised local orders to Beachwood, Cleveland Heights, South Euclid and University Heights, and any orders over $30, with free delivery.
“And we do still ship things locally and out of the country, if they need, or out state,” Behboudnia said.
Chocolate Emporium also sells its products in Heinen’s and Giant Eagle.
Behboudnia said once the threat of COVID-19 has died down, those let go will be rehired.
“We’re also looking for someone to work in the store,” she said. “My husband has an elderly mother, because of that I probably won’t be working unless things turn around ‘cause we don’t want her to get sick.”
Behboudnia said she does not know when the store will reopen.
“We’re also going to be getting ... a glass barrier between the person working at the cash register and the people coming in,” Behboudnia said. “I never really had a problem with customers coming in, but we’ll probably have to limit the amount of people coming into the store.
“It’s frightening. It’s a lot to do, but we’re trying to adapt.”