By Ann-Corynn Rivière
Howard University News Service
After 44 years of fun, laughs and smiles, owner Michele Cosby was saddened to announce that Chocolate Moose close its doors at the end of this year. Located at 1743 L St. NW, the family-owned store provided Washington residents and tourists with Belgian chocolate and unique gifts.
Sisters Barbara and Marcia Levi opened Chocolate Moose in 1978. Since then, the store has relocated a few times. It was in the Van Ness neighborhood for a year and a half before relocating to 18th and M Streets NW, where it stayed for about 23 years. The L Street location will be the last.
As a second-generation owner, Cosby made the decision after much consideration. She bought the store from its original owners and worked for eight years to make sure Chocolate Moose was a source of joy for whomever stepped into the store.
However, it was clear that one factor was a major contributor to the closure: the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Remote work has really hurt us, and I’d say that was probably the biggest reason why we’ve decided to close our doors,” Cosby said.
Although Chocolate Mousse has a great customer base, many people no longer work consistently in D.C., Cosby says. Consequently, this has decreased foot traffic and hurt sales.
“It’s just not enough to sustain us to the point where it’s a risk to continue,” she said.
Cosby said that since announcing the closure of Chocolate Moose and its liquidation sale, she has received many messages from previous customers sharing their sadness, but also joyous memories.
“But it’s hard. A lot of people, they don’t live downtown and just to get here is just, you know, an effort for them when they’re no longer working here.”
Although Cosby has no official date for the final day, she anticipates that it will probably be by the end of this year. Chocolate Moose is conducting a closing sale to get through its inventory.
The weeks since the announcement have been bittersweet for Cosby. This decision was a difficult one, but she has been comforted by all the well wishes and kind words of loyal customers.
“It makes my heart full to know that, you know, people had such an attachment to it.”
Ann-Corynn Rivière is a reporter for HUNewsService.com.