San Francisco — On May 20, Ghirardelli Chocolate Company reopened its flagship Chocolate Experience Store, located in San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Square. The space is designed to elevate the customer experience and provides new and exciting ways to celebrate the true craftmanship of chocolate making.
“We are thrilled to unveil the Chocolate Experience Store to our community of chocolate lovers and hometown of San Francisco,” says Justin Reese, vice president of retail and e-commerce at Ghirardelli Chocolate Company. “Our premium chocolate, the historic architecture and the stunning views, have made Ghirardelli Square a favorite San Francisco destination. The interior redesign brings a new vibrant experience to the classic space.”
“Ghirardelli Square is one of our city’s most beloved destinations that tourists and residents always come back to,” says San Francisco Mayor London Breed. “We know that COVID had a significant impact on our tourism industry, and as we continue to recover, it is critical to establish new experiences for everyone to enjoy. Ghirardelli has helped bring people to San Francisco’s waterfront for almost 130 years, and they will continue to do so with the reopening of their Chocolate Experience Store.”
The renovated space sits within the Pioneer Woolen Mill building, which was built in 1864 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. As guests walk through the Chocolate Experience Store, they will have the unique opportunity to watch Ghirardelli chocolatiers hand crafting the brand’s signature hot fudge from only three ingredients: pure Ghirardelli chocolate, milk and vanilla. Guests can also personalize a tin of signature chocolate squares selected from the brand’s largest Pick & Mix yet and enjoy a World Famous Hot Fudge Sundae in the store’s Alcatraz room while taking in the unobstructed and breathtaking view of San Francisco Bay.
The redesigned Chocolate Experience Store perfectly blends modern design elements, like a custom inlay of the Ghirardelli golden eagle and tile work from San Francisco-based company Heath Ceramics, with core elements of the historic structure, like the original red brick walls and timber beams. Also newly on display are hand painted murals and a collection of vintage Ghirardelli advertising dating back to the company’s beginnings in the mid-nineteenth century.
“In collaboration with the Ghirardelli team, we aimed to blend historic elements of the iconic space with new and engaging components of the Ghirardelli retail environment,” says Edmond Kuan, managing principal of Bay Area-based design firm Eight Inc. “The space captivates visitors with incredible views, interactive features and a bit of nostalgia — all a great backdrop for enjoying Ghirardelli chocolate.”
The Chocolate Experience Store reopening marks the conclusion of Phase I of III for the storied chocolate company’s space renovations at its namesake Ghirardelli Square. The second phase of the project — a renovation of Ghirardelli’s Original Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop — is slated to begin in January 2023 and wrap up by May 2023. A pop-up store at the square in place during the renovation process has helped to limit disruption to the visitor experience and Ghirardelli’s business operations.
Founded in San Francisco in 1852, Ghirardelli one of the few companies in America that controls the entire chocolate manufacturing process, from cocoa bean to finished product. For more information, visit www.ghirardelli.com.
Founded in 1989, the globally recognized and award-winning strategic design firm Eight Inc. has been the forefront of innovation creating ground-breaking experiences for the most beloved brands.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: To read our March 2022 cover story on Ghirardelli, click here.]
SOURCE: Ghirardelli Chocolate Company