Schurra’s Announces Closing of Century-Old Chocolate Shop

San Jose will lose a bit of its soul when a 106-year-old business closes its retail outlet at 840 The Alameda and moves its wholesale operations to neighboring Santa Clara. Schurra’s Fine Confections has been a fixture on The Alameda since the 1930s, when Albert and Justin Schurra expanded from Stockton and Modesto.

The Central Valley stores are long since gone. The San Jose store, known for its dipped apples, sea salt caramels, truffles and Easter bunnies, all produced on site, will close its doors on April 28, 2018, the company announced today. A three-week customer appreciation sale will begin on April 10.

Schurra's on The Alameda. (Photo by Dan Pulcrano)

Proprietor Brian Mundy, who took over the operation from his late father Bill Mundy more than a decade ago, took a break from cutting caramel squares to explain the tough decision.

The first challenge he faced was after the city invited iconic local businesses to establish shops at Mineta San Jose International Airport. Schurra’s opened in Terminal A in February 2010.

While initially successful, business tanked when then-airport director Bill Sherry moved flights to the new Terminal B a few months later, leaving the older terminal with a trickle of passengers. Mundy says that debacle cost the business more than $200,000.

“We recovered from that and started to take a little money out.” Mundy said. “Then the sewer line collapsed.”

The biggest problem, though, has been high labor costs and the difficulty of finding employees. Mundy, 49, says he couldn’t overcome “a 300 percent labor cost increase” and that he’s been unable to take anything out of the business in five years.

The family-owned building has been sold because the candy shop, which pays for the care of his ailing elderly mom, cannot afford the rent. The Alameda has been booming since Whole Foods opened three years ago. Apartment buildings have been rising across the street, and Google plans a massive headquarters around the corner.

Though the historic building’s been sold and the store will close, Mundy hopes to keep the brand alive through an as yet unsigned “production partnership.”

“We’re not selling the name,” he said.

19 Comments

  1. Yikes, Google again?! Much like the old Japanese monster movies (“Godzilla Eats Tokyo”), in the case of our fair city, it’s “Google Eats San Joser!”

  2. The high labor costs due to increase in minimum
    wage is killing small businesses in Bay Area.
    They want higher wages but if the business has to
    close you no longer have a job. There has to be
    better communication between small business owners to let the local governments know these issues before they are forced to shut down.

    • They already know, but believe in new math. Higher wages means more taxes (except for when inflation stagnates local businesses), which can make local neighborhoods upwardly mobile (squeezing out local businesses in favor of Walmart, Whole Foods, Sam’s Club), bring in new people and more housing (compact and more expensive pushing out established residents in favor of more expensive condos and apartments). Which also means the few independent businesses left can’t find employees locally so any they do attract they have to pay more than the going rate and provide benefits they can’t afford at current pricing so pricing goes up leading to the death of more local businesses.

      • That’s literally not how that works.

        Chain and outside businesses generally pay less to workers than local businesses. If you don’t pay your workers a living wage, they can’t afford your products – that’s more true for a local business than for a chain, which takes its profits elsewhere.

        Expecting workers to work for less and less is also a spiral. Strange it’s one you’re willing to go down but…

  3. This is really too bad. A great little place that is at the heart of family tradition. One of the last remaining storefronts that make that stretch of Santa Clara/The Almeda so special. Remember Andy’s Pet Store? What’s next Stan’s Donuts? Small business should be able to thrive in a growing neighborhood like where Schurra’s is located.

  4. I loved taking my 2 girls there to watch the ladies in the front window making there chocolate’s from heaven! Then we would go inside and the smell of Schurra’s chocolate was like no other. My daughters eyes were gleaming with joy, it was an event that kept us smiling for days! What a special treat this was, like stepping back in time even back then of 35 years ago! We still go and my daughter that still lives in Sunnyvale takes her daughter! The City of San Jose is losing such a speacial part of its history. I just pray that Schurra’s can find a special place to keep this Special business tradition going. They would do unbelievably well at Santana Row? No! Santana Row would gain a classy piece of history! There is nothing like our Schurra’s anywhere! We all lose if there is no more Schurra’s ?

  5. Very sad to lose a San Jose tradition. The Mundy family has done a Herculean job of trying to contribute to downtown success, and so sorry the business couldn’t survive.

  6. My parents purchased quality chocolates from Shurras in the early to mid sixties for resale in our ice cream and sandwich shop, Fistys, in Hacienda Gardens shopping. Wonderful days.

    • But no walk-in sales; that’s the whole point of the article. They have a robust corporate/ internet business but can’t afford to hire retail staff and have trouble hiring employees.

  7. They need to move to where they get foot traffic. They are not in a place where there is a lot of foot traffic. I love Schurras. I only go there for special occasions such as Easter because they are off the beaten path. Please move to a mall where people will see you.

  8. Set up Schurra’s website at your soonest and make sure Mercury will write an article about this so we can follow you and enjoy your chocolate. Waiting for the announcement…

    • Please tell me that you have a website now, where I can buy your candy! this is my first chance to try your new website, but I don’t know where it is! HELP!

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