When it comes to hand-dipped original recipe chocolates, this is big news: Hatch Family Chocolates is planning to move from their Salt Lake City shop on the corner of E Street and 4th Avenue.
But there's no need to start hoarding their rich truffles or haystacks. Steve Hatch and Katie Masterson, who own and operate the business and starred in the reality TV show "The Little Chocolatiers," won't be moving far. They plan to relocate in the old 8th Avenue Meat & Grocery building just east of LDS Hospital.
"The most important part is that we're staying in the Avenues," Hatch said. "We really love it here. The neighbors have taken us under their wing. Without them we wouldn't be here."
The pair opened their chocolate store at 390 E. 4th Avenue in 2003. There, they make and sell chocolates from recipes handed down through generations of the Hatch family.
They've now outgrown the place and have been looking to expand.
"We toyed with the idea of going down to Pioneer Park and we toyed with the idea of opening a shop in Sugar House," Steve said. "But the Avenues feels like home to us."
The 8th Avenue grocery closed about two years ago when it longtime owner, William Spencer, died. Hatch said he and Masterson were approached as potential buyers for the building. But at that time, they could not afford it.
Their financial plight changed, however, when they signed on with the TLC cable channel to do "The Little Choclatiers" reality TV show. (It will air again July 29 and 30). That brought with it more customers and, last week, the pair purchased the brick structure at 376 8th Avenue.
"It needs a lot of work," Hatch said. "We'll probably have to take the roof off and redo it."
They also plan to expand the 11,000-square-foot structure by 3,000-square-feet to allow for a small cafe. The eatery would be operated by a tenant, Hatch said.
However, putting a restaurant in the building will require a zone change, according to Salt Lake City planner Ray Milliner.
Hatch and Masterson have applied for "mixed-use residential" zoning or "RMU." The Salt Lake City Planning Commission will entertain the proposal at it's regularly scheduled Aug. 11 meeting, Milliner said.
The commission will then forward its recommendation on the zone change application to the City Council for a final vote.
Such zones are found elsewhere in the Avenues, Milliner noted.
"We could go in right now [without a zone change] for a chocolate shop," Hatch said of the building. "But we need a tenant to make it work... It has to be somebody who won't take away from the [ambience of the] neighborhood."
The proposal to move the chocolate shop to 8th Avenue was met with enthusiasm by the Greater Avenues Community County, said it's chairman, Jim Jenkin. It unanimously endorsed the renovation plan.
"It has great potential and the community is happy to see that parcel back in use," Jenkin said.
Mayor Ralph Becker also supports the move.
"Hatch Family Chocolate is a local success story of a growing family-owned business in the Avenues," the mayor said. "The city is excited to see businesses like this blossom in our neighborhoods."
Demolition work is scheduled to begin by mid-August. The chocolate shop's move could be 8 months to one year away, Hatch said.
New location » 8th Avenue Meat & Grocery building just east of LDS Hospital.
Big plans » Plans are to expand the structure by 3000 square feet to allow for a small cafe to be operated by a tenant.
Time » The shop's move could be 8 months to one year away.