Two months ago, Bebette Smith opened her Belgian chocolate business’s second CSRA location, but she’s already been forced to close that location temporarily and throw away about 200 pounds of chocolate.
Smith owns La Bonbonniere located at 231 Furys Ferry Road, Suite 206B in Augusta and 227 Chesterfield St. South in Aiken. She said her Aiken store is one of three retail units located in the same building, and the building’s owner is currently revamping the other two units.
Unfortunately, La Bonbonniere’s chocolates absorbed odors from a chemical used on the floors in those units.
“Chocolate is like a sponge; the taste will always be there,” Smith said.
She also received several complaints from customers about the taste of her chocolates. Smith tried them and agreed they tasted terrible.
“It’s sad not only because of the loss, but customers are unhappy,” she said. “My reputation is at stake.”
Smith has owned the Augusta location since 2005, and many love her treats. She wants customers who bought chocolates that were affected by the chemical odors to return them to her shop in Augusta.
“I’ll be happy to replace, refund, whatever they want,” Smith said.
She hopes she hasn’t lost customers and wants people to understand the problem wasn’t her or anyone else’s fault. Smith isn’t sure how long the Aiken shop will remain closed, and she plans to contact her insurance company about recouping the costs of the chocolates she had to throw away.
“We’ll reopen with all new chocolates,” she said. “It’s just an unfortunate circumstance; I hope the Aiken people will give me a second chance.”
For more information, visit labonbonniereaugusta.com/ or call 706-868-8120.