SAN FRANCISCO—Owners of the Chocolate Heaven, John Naylor and Terry Friedkin saw a significant decrease in tourism as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and have turned to online business to keep the company afloat.
Chocolate Heaven has been a staple at Pier 39 in San Francisco since 1980. The store works with over 100 vendors, selling well-known European brands, such as Lindt, and supporting local chocolate businesses. During the pandemic, the couple relied on their daughter, Jennifer Blumenfeld, to redesign the online store for the business.
Blumenfeld decided to offer a subset of the store’s inventory, mostly the best-selling items, with a focus on what local and other American customers might want as opposed to international tourist. They began shipping throughout the country.
“Jen has that rare combination of quantitative perceptions and artistic talents,” Naylor told The Jewish News of Northern California. “She also a mensch, and retail is all about people. In a way, she’s been training for this for a long time.”
Blumenfeld is now a full partner in the online aspect of the business and her parents are thinking about an exit strategy.
“There is a saying that one of the worst things you can do is hold on too ling and not let the next generation come into their powers,” Naylor said. “I want to support Jen’s growth and strengths, and part of the that process is stepping back, maybe stepping forward only when needed.”