Dang, double dang

More economic fallout:

Bay Area mourns upcoming loss of Scharffen Berger

terrible," said Marilyn Rinzler of Berkeley as she stood outside the
soon-to-be-closed Scharffen Berger manufacturing facility here with an
empty chocolate sample container in her hand.

Hershey, which
bought Berkeley-based premium chocolate maker Scharffen Berger in 2005,
announced plans this week to close the west Berkeley plant. Most of the
chocolate will now be made at a Hershey plant in Robinson, Ill., which
has actually been the case for some time, according to Hershey.

is a Berkeley enterprise. It should stay in Berkeley, just as Peet's
Coffee is a Berkeley enterprise and continues to be in Berkeley,"
Rinzler said.

The first official batch of Scharffen Berger
chocolate was made in the South San Francisco factory of John
Scharffenberger and his partner Robert Steinberg in 1996. Scharffen
Berger moved to Berkeley in 2001. The premium chocolate caught on with
Bay Area foodies immediately, and news of the planned factory closing
left a bitter taste in the mouths of many fans.

probably looked at its spreadsheet and decided to move. They (Hershey)
are committed to the bottom line, not to the community," said Janet
Byron of Berkeley. Byron was lunching with a friend at a small cafe
nestled in the classic brick and mortar building near Ashby Avenue that
houses the manufacturing facility.

Some 150 people will lose their jobs when the facility and its retail store, also in the building, close later this year.

Or, as another local news source puts it:

Sad: Scharffenberger Soon to Suck

Bad news this morning from across the Bay, as big conglomerate Hershey's announced that they're closing the Scharffenberger plant in West Berkeley. This comes, of course, after Hershey made nice with the locals, promising to keep the plant here blah blah blah.

It was bullshit, naturally. Get your tours in fast, people, and
stock up. Here's a buck that says in one year Hershey's will release a
new "Scharffenberger" line with "improved" ingredients that "cost less"
and "taste like feet."


This is just corporate bottom-line efficiency bullcrap stuff.
The cafe here is always wait-in-line time, and the tours are always totally booked up.
Here I am with [EDIT, El Tea], in the soon-to-be defunct store:

Imagine me with a little bubble thought-balloon thing — I'm on the left here — and insert your choice of really nasty cuss words.
Be inventive.

And, just to keep the bad news bandwagon rolling along, here's another one:

Heard about this yesterday afternoon, when Mr. Bearman's wife called him.
She and her fellow yoga-with-kids class members, and their teacher, were standing around on the sidewalk in front Elephant Pharm's closed doors, completely blind-sided.

Elephant Pharm abruptly closes its stores

Victoria Collier, Chronicle Staff Writer

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

(02-03) 18:27 PST
Elephant Pharm, a small Bay Area drugstore chain known for its holistic
approach to health remedies, abruptly closed all three stores on
Tuesday and announced plans to file for bankruptcy.
Based in Berkeley with stores also in Walnut Creek and San Rafael,
Elephant Pharm employed a total of about 190 people, including at its
home office. A Los Altos location, which opened about two years ago,
closed in the fall.

The company, which offered traditional prescriptions along with
Chinese herbs, yoga supplies and other alternative products, cited the
downturn in the economy for its decision to liquidate under Chapter 7
of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.B….

On Elephant Pharm's Web site, the company left this message to its
customers: "It's been a very special six years since we started this
drugstore revolution, and we certainly couldn't have made it as far as
we did without you – our customers. We hope that you will continue your
pursuit of a good, long life, well lived."


I don't do make-up.

I haven't, really, since about 1965, when a brief flirtation with heavy eye make-up and white lipstick failed to turn me into Twiggy or Jane Asher, or Pattie Boyd, and I instead lapsed happily into a lower-maintenance hippie style (labeling it a style, even, seems to be a vast overstatement.).

So when Sarah's ballet started requiring her to master things like false eyelashes, mascera remover, foundation, and functional hair gel, I really was very little help to her at all.

Enter Elephant Pharmacy, where not only were all products hypoallergenic and cruelty-free (it can take a long, long time at Longs, reading all the tiny print on things to make sure of this), but Elephant Pharm had sweet, knowledgeable people right there who would explain and demonstrate things.

Sweet knowledgeable people who are now unemployed.

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17 responses to this post.

  1. And the news just keeps getting better……..GRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!So sorry about the choc loss. That does indeed suck.Corporate suckage …er….sucks poopies.Ew. *waves to you guys*


  2. Chocolate FAIL!Oh Noes!!


  3. My sense is that it is that we are going to continue to see some of our favorites evaporate.


  4. oh, i'm sorry to read this. i hope hershey's maintains the quality.


  5. Nooooooooo! I haven't been to Scharffenberger yet!!! Curse you, corporate behemoths!
    *shakes fist toward Pennsylvania*


  6. that should've read: I hope Hershey's maintains the quality. But it won't …


  7. And Hershey's chocolate is such shite. Most American choccie is, because they put too much wax in it, which is Hershey's cost-saving MO with their regular Hershey bar. Barf.


  8. I heard about SB last week but had been too crushed to post about it. I skipped denial and went straight to anger, where I shall remain. Forever.Our trip next weekend, we'll be stocking up.We knew it was going to happen. But NOW where am I going to get such good dark chocolate? They were the best ever invented in the history of chocolate. Never mind Hershey's, the European stuff doesn't even cut it for me any more.Can you freeze chocolate? B/c I'm willing to give over half my freezer to it.


  9. anger is a good fit for this one.as I say, fill in that thought bubble for me, folks, because my own thoughts are not sufficient for the occasion.Dang, blast it, tarnation,


  10. Oh man….sad news all around


  11. Nooooooooo! I haven't been to Scharffenberger yet!!!my feelings exactly, ames. darn, damn, and tarnation.


  12. El Tea, it is usually not recommended to freeze chocolate, but I bet frozen-and-defrosted SB still runs circles around everything else. so freeze away.


  13. This happened to the chocolate maker Sarrotti in Germany too. They were a superb chocolate maker that got in toruble and was bought out by a big conglomeration who cut out their artisan chocolate stuff and mass market the stuff in cookie cutter fashion. Sheesh. Good thing Kansas City has the best artisan chocolatier. But, rest easy, there is TCHO chocolate still on the coast… They really are good eats. Check them out online.


  14. I work up the street from the factory and have never been on the tour! Must get over there ASAP.Also, I hadn't even heard about Elephant. That was a bit sudden.


  15. I think they were trying to broker something up to the last.Dang.


  16. I just called Scharffen Berger and they have already discontinued the tours!


  17. Gack.Gotta get those workers out on the street.


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