After almost six decades of operation, rising rents and overhead costs could close the doors for good on the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company in San Francisco.
Owner Kevin Chan said he fears he may have to shut down the Chinatown cookie factory as rent has more than quadrupled over the past four years.
"I'm worried about the future right now," Chan told SFGATE last week. "I don't know what to do."
Chan told NBC News that the factory’s rent has risen to $5,750 a month, up from $1,400 in 2015. He wouldn’t be able to afford a move, he noted, as the company uses antique equipment.
The Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company, believed to be the last handmade fortune cookie company in San Francisco, opened in 1962, according to a company history. Chan, whose mother helped start the factory, has worked there since he was 9, he told the New York Times last October. The Times reported then that Chan’s mother makes the batter each morning from a secret recipe.
San Francisco named the company a “legacy business” in 2016, citing its “unique cookie dough recipe” and “handmade fortune cookies,” among other reasons. The company has also received recognition from the California Legislature and the San Francisco mayor’s office.
SFGATE reported that the company can produce up to 15,000 cookies a day, which part-time employees fold by hand. The factory is a popular tourist attraction.
In addition to rent, flour and sugar prices and employee wages have also gone up in recent years, Chan told SFGATE. As a legacy business, the company is eligible for a city grant program that offers $500 per full-time employee.