Fannie May Chocolates – The History of an American Original
Fannie May Chocolates has had a long and somewhat tumultuous history, more indicative of the times than of their wonderfully rich brand of chocolates. Nearly a hundred years ago, H. Teller Archibald opened his now famous chocolate shop in Chicago, Illinois, intent on selling quality chocolates in the neighborhood. Over the next two-and-half decades, Archibald’s dream grew to nearly 50 such stores, scattered conveniently around America. Fannie May was renowned for her gourmet chocolates and strong sense of commitment to excellence, a sense which would shortly lead to a temporary downfall.
With the arrival of World War II, many companies – not just chocolate companies – experienced an unprecedented shortage in the supplies they used to make their own specialty brands of chocolates, and so shifted their recipes temporarily to ingredients that were available. Archibald’s company refused to do this, and paid the price by having to close their many retail stores much earlier in the day, when their original ingredients ran out. They simply refused to compromise quality, even to turn a profit. Sadly, the world doesn’t often reward idealism, and the Fannie May floundered for a time.
Predictably, for such a candy company with a loyal base of customers, Fannie May returned to the scene in full force after the end of the War. A spirited campaign of chocolate-making vaulted off the return of their ingredients, and Fannie May introduced new chocolates that quickly became American favorites. The windfall from enabled them to buy a competitor-company (Fanny Farmer, no relation) in the early 1990s, and expand their operation.
Although Fannie May performed admirably for the half-century after World war II, their parent company – Archibald Candy Corporation – didn’t do so well overall, and called it quits. This had the inevitable effect of bankrupting Fannie May, as well; although they would not be long without a capable suitor. Alpine Confections Corporation realized the utility of the history, profitability and customer base of Fannie May and bought the company shortly afterward, moving their base of operations to Ohio in the process, in the year 2004. This would not, however, be her final home.
Fannie May was always going to be worth something; particularly with the raves regarding her special Mint Meltaways, and two years after the move to Ohio, she was bought by the national conglomerate 1-800-Flowers.com, Inc for nearly $ 100 million, keeping the manufacture of her confectionary brands in Ohio, while allowing the headquarters to remain in her birthplace, Chicago Illinois. She has expanded her repertoire beyond chocolates and candy, and now delights her ever-growing fan base with gift baskets, gourmet foods other than chocolate (and, of course, as well as chocolate), and uniquely delicious trademark chocolate combinations.
Fannie May chocolates is one of the most popular chocolates in America, with its long line of delectable milk chocolates and sweet combinations. Perfect for sharing with a friends or loved ones during the holidays, Chris fell in love with their mint-melt-aways when her husband introduced them to her. Whether as decorations for a Christmas tree or presents for Valentines Day, you simply can’t go wrong with Fannie May.