For two decades, Chocolate Nirvana has been one of Columbia’s go-to shops for decadent treats on Valentine’s Day — and every other day of the year.
“Valentine’s Day has always been one of the busiest times of the year for us,” said general manager Jon Rogers.
This Valentine’s Day, business has “slumped a bit,” Rogers said, as he and owner Phil Waddell are preparing their typically highly demanded treats at 2501 Main St. in a commercial space leased at DER Kitchen. They leased the space after their location at 4405 Fort Jackson Blvd. was damaged in October’s floods.
“It destroyed everything — equipment, product, absolutely everything,” Rogers said, who added the business had only been open at the location for just over a year. “It was devastating. We had collected our equipment over 20 years and now we don’t have anything.”
A GoFundMe site was set up for the business but did not produce great results, according to Waddell. That means the business will have to start over from scratch.
The company plans to reopen as a retail store, possibly in March, Rogers said. “It’s going to cost too much money to replace all of the equipment in order to reopen like we were. The retail store will be the cheapest way for us to reopen and then we can hopefully rework our way back up to bakery and cafe and catering.”
Long-time Columbia staples, Chocolate Nirvana and The Happy Cooker combined as Chocolate Nirvana Bakery and Cafe in 2014 to the Fort Jackson Boulevard site. To reach Chocolate Nirvana, call 803-446-0706.
Devine Station, an affiliate of Estates Inc., has purchased all of the former Continental America/Aflac buildings and property at 2801 Devine St. According to the property deed filed Dec. 29, the property sold for $2.2 million.
Estates is not ready to release information regarding plans for the site. However, on Jan. 19, Columbia City Council unanimously approved a request from Devine Station to lift a parking restriction placed on 0.56 acres of the site, which Devine Station referred to in its request as “a prime development parcel because of its frontage on Devine Street.”
The property was owned by Leon Goodall and served as the former Continental American insurance building before Continental was sold to Aflac in 2009. Aflac moved into the buildings on the property but since has since relocated all of its employees to 400 Laurel St.
Devine Station is owner of the former Whitney Hotel at the corner of Woodrow and Devine streets, which Estates Inc. recently converted into luxury apartment complex.