LOSS: Blommer Chocolate Company Factory to Close After 85 Years

Blommer Chocolate Company Building circa 1939, 600 W. Kinzie St. Photo credit: Blommer Chocolate Company

“Blommer Chocolate Co. will close its factory in the heart of Chicago at the end of May due to increasing costs of running the aging facility at 600 W. Kinzie St., the company announced Friday.

“‘The location and age of the Chicago facility coupled with increasing repair and maintenance of the building and equipment has elevated operating costs and created production reliability issues,’ Blommer said in a statement.

“Some employees will move to other roles within the company, and others to competing confectioneries who have agreed to take them on. ‘They’ve been working very hard to keep this plant operational for many years. They know the struggles that it’s taken to run something of this vintage,’ said Robert Karr, senior vice president of Blommer. ‘They’ve taken the news as we have — very hard — in the sense that we’ve all been so committed. And while we don’t want this day to come, it’s a sad day, but it’s also a part of the future.’

“The factory known for wafting mouth-watering chocolate aromas across downtown Chicago opened in 1939 when the company was founded. The site is also the original manufacturing plant.

“Karr said while the loss of the chocolate smell will leave a void downtown, the company is looking forward to the future.

“‘This is where our headquarters is located, so we’re not leaving Chicago,’ he said. ‘We have people when we walk around the neighborhood from all over the world wondering where the chocolate is and we’re all going to miss it. It’s a big part of Chicago.’

“Blommer’s corporate headquarters and lab will remain at the Merchandise Mart. The company said its new research and development center will open at the Mart in the fall and will focus on processing and ingredient research, ‘concept tasting,’ and more.

“I guess it’s not going to smell as good around here anymore, unfortunately,” Tom Favero, 26, said. “It’ll be missed for sure.”

“Henry Blommer Sr. and his brothers Al and Bernard founded Bloomer in 1939. Their grandfather, Conrad Blommer, a Milwaukee confectioner, opened Blommer Ice Cream, which became Wisconsin Creameries, according to Blommer’s website

“The shuttering of Blommer’s factory closes another chapter in Chicago’s candymaking history, dating from the late 1800s. Tootsie Rolls, Brach’s, Frango, Wrigley Gum, Fannie May, and Mars Candy all have roots in the city. Fannie May’s first store was in the Loop and Frango mints were produced at Marshall Field’s department store on State Street for 70 years.” (Yee and Hernandez, Chicago Sun-Times, 3/22/24)

Read the full story at Chicago Sun-Times



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