Romeo Chocolates, which has occupied its location on Pine Avenue in Downtown Long Beach for almost five years, is closing its doors and making way for big changes and a new Downtown location coming soon, the shop announced on its Instagram page Sunday.

“Bear with us as we relocate out of Pine Ave to prepare for a new iteration of our chocolate story,” wrote owner and chocolatier Romeo Garcia, announcing the closure.

The award-winning gourmet chocolate shop and wine bar opened its first brick-and-mortar location on 460 Pine Avenue in June 2017 after years of Garcia selling his chocolates, made from home, at pop-ups in neighborhoods all over Long Beach. Before he was a business owner and chocolatier, Garcia had established a 14-year career working in higher education but developed a love for the art of chocolate-making along the way.

“I don’t think I would have ever fathomed that I would transition into this career, but the thing is you don’t know where passion takes you,” Garcia told the Post at the grand opening event for the Pine Avenue location in October 2017.

A gift-box assortment of chocolates at Romeo Chocolates. Photo courtesy Romeo Chocolates.

For almost five years, the local favorite has offered special holiday collections, limited-edition creations and luxurious chocolate and wine tastings for the community. Eventually, the shop expanded to more locations across the city and opened its second store at The Hangar, at Long Beach Exchange in October 2021, which will also be closed during the shop’s transition.

While both of its locations are closed for an unknown amount of time they will continue to host private tasting events and kids chocolate-making workshops at Kubo Long Beach, a diverse co-working and event pop-up space in Bixby Knolls.

This year has not been easy for the shop’s Downtown location as earlier this year, the chocolate shop was burglarized weeks ahead of the busy Valentine’s Day season leaving it with shattered front windows and an empty cash register. A GoFundMe page made to help the shop recover raised over $11,700 from community donations.

Though the shop could not give specific details on the new location or when it would be opening, they encouraged their customers to keep an eye out on the shop’s social media pages and their website to get updates first.

“Our intention will continue to build community, to share our craft of ethically sourced fine chocolate, and to help build the next cadre of culinary / chocolate professionals,” wrote Garcia on Instagram.