Cocoa Planet shifts orbit, heads for Arizona

Anne McKibben is moving her Cocoa Planet chocolate factory to Arizona.

McKibben’s husband, Jeff, is a tech executive in Phoenix, and has been commuting weekly to the Copper State for 10 years, she says.

“We love it here in Sonoma and hate to leave,” said McKibben. “But we need to have the family together in one state.”

Cocoa Planet will remain open at its Sonoma location through Saturday, March 17, and close after serving chocolate beer and pots de creme with green whipped cream on St. Patrick’s Day.

McKibben says the Cocoa Planet building at 921 Broadway is currently in escrow – and the interested party is Ken and Stacey Mattson. The Mattsons relocated to Sonoma from Piedmont about two years ago and have since purchased the Sonoma’s Best deli on East Napa Street, the Lanning property on Sonoma Highway, as well as the Boyes Food Center building and the Moon Mountain property along Highway 12 in the Springs.

According to the ABC Notice of Application for Ownership Change on Cocoa Planet, the Mattsons, under the business name Sonoma’s Best, plan to launch a business at the location called Sonoma Burrito Company.

McKibben bought the Cocoa Planet building – formerly the Sonoma Print Shop – in November of 2014 and spent the next two years completely remodeling it in a modern French style, and re-landscaping the back patio and garden. The Cocoa Planet tasting room opened in October of 2016, where it currently serves wine and chocolate pairings and gluten-free desserts.

McKibben says she will be moving all of her chocolate manufacturing equipment to the Phoenix area and continue production for many U.S. and international clients. In Sonoma Cocoa Planet chocolates are available at Whole Foods, Tiddle E. Winks, Sonoma Market and other specialty stores.

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