City left out of Fannie May reopening

By Jessica Kalin

Fannie May’s return to Chicagoland has never sounded so sweet, but residents looking for the chocolate in DeKalb will have limited options.

Utah-based Alpine Confections bought Fannie May last April for $38.9 million after the company filed for bankruptcy.

The company recently began reopening many of the former Fannie May stores; six stores have already opened. However, Alpine doesn’t plan on reopening the store’s former DeKalb location.

Last Tuesday, the candy company began reopening some of its planned 47 retail stores in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana. All stores, which are former locations of Fannie May, should be reopened by Nov. 19.

Dun-Rite Signs, 223 E. Lincoln Highway, occupies the DeKalb Fannie May’s former retail space, which closed Feb. 15.

Alpine re-introduced the candy stores in old locations based on the previous performances of the Fannie May retail at those spots; DeKalb was not one of those stores.

The DeKalb location did not do poorly, but it was not one of Fannie May’s higher-selling stores, said Kim Kubiak, executive director of DeKalb’s Chamber of Commerce.

“It was right around the corner from a locally-owned candy store,” she said. “That probably played into it.”

Mark Spencer, spokesperson for Alpine Confections, said all stores will open within a month.

Using the same recipes, ingredients and some of the same suppliers, the candy is being manufactured north of Canton, Ohio.

“Alpine has made a real commitment to make sure [the candy] tastes the same,” Spencer said.

About 80 types of candies are available through Fannie May stores.

Spencer said customers are able to pick out candy from the counter and make up a box of chocolate to their liking.

Select grocery stores, including select DeKalb stores, will carry pre-packaged boxes of Mint Meltaways, Pixies and Trinidads.

A number of former Fannie May retail employees have re-applied for their jobs, with 68 percent of store managers being former Fannie May managers.

Spencer said the company’s Oak Lawn location, which was the first to open Oct 19, experienced an all-day line and 10 times the normal retail sales.

The closest stores to DeKalb, located in Rockford, Aurora and St. Charles, will open within a month.