Sept. 14, 2020 By Allie Griffin
A Forest Hills chocolate shop celebrated its 90th anniversary Sunday, which was made even sweeter after surviving the economic fallout of the pandemic.
Aigner Chocolates, at 103-02 Metropolitan Ave., celebrated nine decades in business with local elected officials and neighbors Sunday afternoon.
The shop opened in 1930 as Krauses Candy Kitchen until the early 1960s when the Aigner family bought the business and renamed it. The family made chocolate and candy in the same corner store for three generations.
In 2015, Aigner Chocolates was bought by a married couple, Mark Libertini and Rachel Kellner. The pair continue to produce chocolate on antique equipment, using recipes passed down through generations.
“We feel honored to be able to continue the Aigners tradition and feel a unique sense of pride when we hear stories of customers who have been purchasing confections from us for their family celebrations for generations,” Libertini said.
The chocolate shop is a long-standing staple in the Forest Hills neighborhood and when the pandemic hit, it became even more important to the community.
Libertini and Kellner have donated chocolates from their shop to frontline workers throughout Queens and Long Island since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.
They created the Rainbow Bunny Exchange in which children were asked to draw rainbows with a message of support for frontline workers and drop them off at the shop in exchange for a free chocolate bunny pop. In just two weeks, Aigner Chocolates collected more than 300 drawings and donated them to Elmhurst Hospital.
Neighbors came out in troves to support Aigner Chocolates when they heard it had been burglarized.