Chocolate and dessert shop Cacao Cafe in Virginia-Highland is apparently closing for good due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the AJC reports. Owned by Kristen Hard and Caline Jarudi, the shop is the retail arm of Cacao Atlanta Chocolate Company.
According to an announcement made by the partners on Monday, Jarudi has been unable to work at the shop on North Highland Avenue since the pandemic began due to a medical condition which puts her in the high risk category for COVID-19. Hard and Jarudi were also unable to secure funding from the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) or come to an agreement on some sort of rent abatement with their landlord for the retail shop.
The space is now for sub-lease, but the company continues to sell its chocolates online for delivery and pickup.
An additional $310 billion was recently approved as part of a second round of PPP stimulus money for small businesses around the country, including restaurants and bars. The small business stimulus program, administered by private banks and lenders, has been heavily criticized after the first round of $350 billion ran out within two weeks, mostly going to large chains and publicly-traded companies.
Some national restaurant chains that initially received PPP funding during the first round, like Shake Shake, Kura sushi, and Ruth’s Chris, were blasted by the media and the public for taking money meant for mom-and-pop businesses, like Cacao. The three companies have since returned a total of $36 million back to the program.
Eater Atlanta reached out to Hard and Jarudi for comment.
Stay home if sick. Check the Georgia Department of Public Health website for guidance and twice-daily updates on the latest number of reported COVID-19 cases.