To­dos San­tos choco­late shop melts into sun­set

Down­town since 1999, busi­ness clos­ing af­ter hit from pan­demic econ­omy

Santa Fe New Mexican - - LOCAL & REGION - By Teya Vitu tvitu@sfnewmex­i­can.com

To­dos San­tos Choco­lates and Con­fec­tions — a go-to down­town stop for loy­al­ists of the co­coa bean — is clos­ing shop and melt­ing away Oct. 10.

The coro­n­avirus econ­omy has ham­mered owner Hay­ward Si­moneaux since the first busi­ness lock­down.

“Busi­ness has been down 80 per­cent three months in a row,” Si­moneaux said.

His lease at Sena Plaza is end­ing, and Si­moneaux said he sees no rea­son to re­new.

“I can’t in­vest in Christ­mas to have an­other coro­n­avirus wave hit us and shut us down again,” Si­moneaux said. “It seems like the right thing to do.”

Si­moneaux has been eval­u­at­ing the fate of To­dos San­tos since COVID-19 swept into New Mex­ico in mid-March. He has had the choco­late-and-other-stuff shop at the back of Sena Plaza since 1999.

“It has been kind of a process of shut­ting down for a cou­ple months,” he said. “When we re­opened at the end of May, it was pretty grim. ‘Give it through the sum­mer,’ I said. It would be the tell­tale thing. Sum­mer was aw­ful.

My lease is com­ing up right about now.”

Easter was per­haps the worst time for Si­moneaux, fall­ing on April 12, in the very depths of a lock­down.

“I lost all of my Easter choco­late,” he said, adding that in­volved “hun­dreds of boxes” from France, Bel­gium, Italy and lo­cal ar­ti­sans.

As Si­moneaux talked about To­dos San­tos, ac­tress Ali MacGraw wan­dered in, as she has for all 21 years Si­moneaux has been in busi­ness.

“I like es­pe­cially the in­cred­i­ble eye and imag­i­na­tion of Hay­ward,” MacGraw said. “Al­most on any given day I love al­most any­thing here.”

Si­moneaux’s dusted co­coa al­monds es­pe­cially made MacGraw swoon.

“Cer­tainly com­ing in here is an ad­dic­tion cri­sis,” she said.

Be­fore the pan­demic, To­dos San­tos’ busi­ness was 75 per­cent choco­late and 25 per­cent other items. Nearly all the choco­late has been gone for two weeks. The store is in­stead filled with an eclec­tic as­sort­ment of cu­rios, or­na­ments, tchotchkes and some can­dies. Si­moneaux’s been re­triev­ing much of it from stor­age.

Si­moneaux does not have a post-To­dos San­tos life mapped out.

“My loose plan is to piece it to­gether for a year, make a liv­ing some­how,” he said. “In a year, maybe, re­open some­thing dif­fer­ent some­where else.”

TEYA VITU/THE NEW MEX­I­CAN

Ac­tress and Te­suque res­i­dent Ali MacGraw has been a fre­quent cus­tomer at To­dos San­tos since the shop opened in 1999.

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