Why Godiva closing stores means more than missing chocolate to me

When I was in elementary school, my uncle gave me his Godiva Rewards Club card to redeem a free chocolate each month. When I was in middle school, my friends and I sipped on Godiva’s Dark and Milk Chocolate Decadence Chocolixirs while shopping at the mall for hours. By the time I was in high school, I regularly shared Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries Cones with my younger sisters after taking them to get our nails done. As I grew older and slowly lost my sweet tooth (and idle time), I’d still pick up a treat and free chocolate for the road every now and then, by now sporting my own rewards card.

So after iconic chocolatier Godiva announced it’ll be shuttering every last one of its 128 chocolate stores in North America at the end of March (joining the hundreds of thousands of stores to close due in part to Covid-19), the news stood out to me. Yes, you can grab their sweets online and at partnering retail stores in the long term — as well as at Godiva locations across Europe, the Middle East and China. But given a several months-long deadline, I’ll definitely be treating myself to several chocolate strawberries cones in-person and redeeming as many free truffles as I can before the end of March. As I ruminate on the many visits I made to Godiva stores, I couldn’t help but reminisce about some of my favorite Godiva treats.

Throughout high school as the holiday season rolled in, I was at my busiest: Performing tap and jazz numbers during Christmas showcases at the mall or hotel courtyard and then performing ballet in The Nutcracker at my local theatre.

My family would reunite at intermission and after the show, giving leis and sharing kind words. I also distinctly remember being handed Godiva’s Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries, my favorite flavor given the intense and slightly bitter chocolate. While I usually opted for the cone version, which comes with four or five small to medium-sized berries fit for a snack, Godiva also carries a variety of sets online.

These Godiva sets include large chocolate-covered strawberries, encapsulated in a Belgin chocolate shell and chocolate drizzle and come in two sizes: half-a-dozen or a dozen. You can also find them in Milk Chocolate or Milk & Dark Chocolate.

When it came to surprising my college roommate with a treat during the week of finals or rewarding myself after a particularly long day of work, I would always pick up one of three things:

  1. A red velvet cupcake from Magnolia Bakery
  2. A half-dozen set of Baked By Melissa cupcakes
  3. Or a box of chocolate from Godiva

This set includes eight pieces of chocolate in different shapes and textures, packaged in the iconic Godiva gold box. Some notable pieces are the Milk Chocolate Praliné Heart and Raspberry Star.

Outside of the everyday, Godiva has also served as venue for some special occasions. Whether my boyfriend was coming to visit for birthdays, anniversaries, competition days or game days, I remember getting excited about the potential of chocolate strawberries (and of seeing him, of course). And I’m not the only one. Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst at the NPD Group, told NBC News that 25 percent of Godiva’s business comes from special occasion shopping.

“If we’re not socializing as much as we did and we’re not having special events and special occasions, that’s going to impact the business to some degree,” Cohen explained. Luckily, shoppers can still find a variety of special occasion items on Godiva’s site, from the Lunar New Year to Valentine’s Day.

Although Godiva may be closing its stores, you can still shop Godiva sweets from the below retailers both online or in-person.

Catch up on the latest from NBC News Shopping guides and recommendations and download the NBC News app for full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak.