Morning Headlines: City Tries to Shut Down Kensington Chocolate Factory

The business signs agreement to pay taxes, stay open.

Screenshot of Blasius Chocolate Factory via Google Street View

Look at the recent posts on their Facebook page and you’ll find nothing but support for Blasius Chocolate Factory. That’s because city officials showed up on Wednesday to force the business to cease operations, an order the Factory continues to ignore.

Apparently, the Venango Street business owes more than $12,000 in delinquent property taxes — money that owner Phil Kerwick believes he does not owe since the factory is only opened half the year.

Emily Babay from reports that the business’ license was revoked almost three months ago.

Since then, city officials have issued five more orders for the chocolate-maker to cease operations.

Each time, Kerwick has reopened despite the orders.

“He keeps opening his business illegally and not taking care of his tax debt,” McDonald said. He said Kerwick was issued a summary violation on Wednesday for remaining open.

Kerwick’s position is that he “should only pay half,” but that they “won’t give [him] that determination.”

Now with Easter Sunday just around the corner, the chocolate factory-candy store is set to make “half its money,” prompting Kerwick to muse, “Why would you shut someone down when they’re trying to make money to pay you?”

UPDATE: Apparently Kerwick backed down. Here’s what just reported:

Mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald said the shop signed an agreement to pay its delinquent taxes and made a down payment on Thursday afternoon.

City officials had moved on Wednesday to close the chocolate store over $12,000 in unpaid taxes, kicking out customers and blocking the business’ driveway. The payment agreement means Blasius can keep operating through the Easter holiday — the busiest time of year for the store — without police returning to the site.

City moves to shut Blasius Chocolate Factory before Easter []

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