Theo Chocolate announces merger, plans to close Seattle factory
For 18 years, Theo Chocolate has been a fragrant landmark in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. But now, company officials say rising costs are forcing them to close their local factory.
The store and headquarters will remain.
Theo Chocolate is merging with the Indiana-based American Licorice Company, which makes Red Vines as well as some higher-end sweets. Officials said in a press release that Theo’s commitment to making organic, fair trade products will remain unchanged.
CEO Etienne Patout called the changes “tough but necessary decisions to ensure the company's long-term viability.”
Approximately 60 employees will be laid off at the end of August, when factory tours will also end.
“We are committed to supporting those impacted by the transition ahead,” Patout said, adding that those employees were offered a severance package.
The factory space will be available for lease. Theo Chocolate will maintain its adjoining headquarters, flagship store, and “confection kitchen” in its historic Seattle building.
A spokesperson for Theo Chocolate said, “The confection kitchen will continue to create handmade specialty chocolate items, available for purchase in the Flagship Store. We hope to continue classes, which will also take place in the Flagship Store.”
Those remaining operations will leave about 25 Seattle employees. The company declined to answer where Theo Chocolates will next be manufactured, calling it “proprietary information.”
“We do not expect any significant out of stocks or interruptions to our product availability through the transition," the spokesperson said.