Volume 74, Number 37 | January 19 -25, 2005

Villager photo by Elisabeth Robert

Martha Bond, owner of Li-Lac Chocolates, at the store’s new home at 40 Eighth Ave.

Chocolatier changes locations, but quality’s constant

Amanda Kludt

Li-Lac Chocolates, one of Greenwich Village’s oldest chocolate shops, will reopen at its new location on 40 Eighth Ave. on the morning of Jan. 12. Owner Martha Bond decided to move from the old location on 120 Christopher St., where the store has been since its founding in 1923, because of rising rent costs.

Bond said she would have liked to keep her store on Christopher St., but because of the high costs of making chocolate in Manhattan and disagreements with her landlord, she had to make the move.

When choosing the new location she knew the store would have to remain in Greenwich Village out of loyalty to the store’s generations of patrons. “It’s a Village institution. The Village is what made us, and it’s where our loyal customers are,” she said.

Although many will be sad to see the 81-year-old store change locations, Li-Lac has extremely devoted customers. “The response has been very positive. Many people have said ‘We’ll follow you anywhere,’ ” Bond noted.

However, Li-Lac Chocolates doesn’t simply enjoy fame and popularity because it is one of the oldest chocolate stores in the city. Li-Lac is also one of the only remaining New York chocolate shops to produce handmade chocolates on site. Yet, this will all change soon after the move. Li-Lac will manufacture at their new location only until March, when the chocolates will start being made in a factory in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. “We needed more manufacturing space,” explained Bond. “It was getting too expensive to do in Manhattan.”

For those customers worried about a change in quality once the chocolates are made outside of the Village, Bond said the quality and the freshness will not be compromised. Chocolates will still be made in small batches and will be shipped into the city twice a day. All of the recipes and cooking methods, passed down from the founder, George Demetrious, will remain the same.

Bond said that, personally, the move was devastating. She said that she was happy to be moving to a new and open location but that it is hard to move a store that’s been around for over eight decades. “It took me months to make the decision. There were a lot of sleepless nights,” she said.

Regardless of the change in both retail and manufacturing locations, Bond said the quality of Li-Lac’s chocolates will never change.

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