Chinatown's Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory may face rent concerns

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A legendary fortune cookie factory in Chinatown may be facing concerns over its own fortune as rents in San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area continue exploding.

The Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory is a small, cramped store that has been in the same Chinatown alley for some 57 years.

It is a popular spot for tourists from all over the world.

For children, it's part of their field trip.

After all, who doesn't like fortune cookies?

"I just like opening them and seeing the little note inside," said fifth-grader Jonah Caron, who was on a field trip with his mother.

Each fortune cookie is made from the heart, says owner Kevin Chan.

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"They're not cranking up like crack, crack, crack. Like the other places do a million a day. I do one-by-one handmade."

Three big antique machines churn out about 15,000 cookies a day, the recipe known only by Chan's mother.

"Right now, my situation is floating. It's floating. It's not sinking. It's floating."

Chan is worried about future rent hikes.

Three years ago, he says it was $1,400 a month.

Now he says it's more than doubled.

"It's the issue," Chan says, "that everybody has to face. The issue that's getting worse and worse."

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He says he doesn't blame his landlord or the city.

It's just the way things are going, a trend that's happening everywhere.

He also says San Francisco's minimum wage of $15 an hour and the rising cost of doing business has also hurt him.

Mayor London Breed promises to help.

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"It's really important to protect small businesses like this one. So, we're going to do everything to support them."

As a San Francisco Legacy Business, the City says Chan qualifies for rent stabilization grants, among other benefits.

Fortune cookies are supposed to make people happy.

The fortune ABC7's Vic Lee opened said, ''Don't give up hope. Everything will be alright."

A fitting message for the situation.

See more stories from ABC7's Building a Better Bay Area.
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