The Chocolate Life

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After finding what I had hoped would be a good location for my new shop, I have serious reservations.  The space was previously a hair salon for many years (they recently moved to the larger space next door).  My concern is the smell. There is a distinct soapy/perfumy fragrance of hair care products that has not dissipated over the last month or two that it has been vacant.  The cabinet mounted on the wall where the hair wash station was seems to be the main culprit, however, I am concerned that even when the cabinet is removed, the smell has also permeated the wood flooring, drywall, and hung ceiling tiles. The last thing I want to do is commit to a lease, only to find out that the ambiant odors render my product unsellable (I don't think extra-body shampoo infused ganache would be a big hit). Has anyone dealt with this kind of stinky situation in their work space? 

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Hi Giovanna,

 I had a drain-cleaning company move in next door to my industrial unit. Nice guys and I'd recommend them as drain cleaners but not as neighbours. They moved out after a month when I complained about the smell but I was still throwing chocolate away 6 months after that despite throwing all the doors open, having fans blowing and giving the place several thorough cleans. I'm not sure what the risk is exactly but unless you can get rid of the smell by cleaning the place and thoroughly ventilating I'd be wary.




New ceiling tiles won't break the bank, nor are they particularily hard or time consuming to install,  but the price can add up.

Shellac has a very nice property in that it blocks odours, it's also organic.  Again, applying this to the walls won't break the bank, but the cost will add up, and then you'll need a few more coats of paint on the walls.

Same goes for the floors, Sand them down and reseal with varnish (or linoleum in the kitchen) will block the odours.

On one hand you have to deal with "perfumy" odours.  I dealt with 30 yr old "ethnic restaurant " odours..........

Have your landlord take care of the issues as part of the lease negotiation, and ensure that the issues are dealt with "subject to your approval".  Chocolate is very hygroscopic, meaning it readily absorbs odor and moisture from its environment.  Once the odor is absorbed, there's no going back.

I brought this up with the landlord. He agreed to include a termination clause in the lease if the problem was not fixed to my satisfaction. When he sent me a copy of the lease agreement however, there was a time limit of 9 days on that. Yikes! I told him I could not agree to that. Not only do I think that is not nearly enough time to determine if I can remedy the situation, I also would not begin investing a bunch of money updating the place until I knew that I could. So I guess I'll keep on looking for now.

Good Call.  The place should be odor free BEFORE you lease it and spend all the money on reno's.  The fact that he doesn't value your time or money tells me the landlord's definitely not a professional when it comes to commercial real estate.  Don't waste your time with him.


There is something to be said for commercial leasing companies, that's for sure.


Cheers and Best Wishes.


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