Anderson’s Candy Shop has been making gourmet chocolates in Illinois for 100 years! And just as making quality candy is a fourth-generation tradition in my family, giving Anderson's as a gift has become a multi-generation tradition for thousands of others.
The following is brief history of my family business, I hope you enjoy learning more about us.
- Leif Anderson, third generation candymaker
Anderson's candy shop was founded by my grandfather Arthur Anderson in 1919 when he left the most famous candy company in Chicago, Kranz, to start his own business. He opened a small shop on Armitage Avenue in Chicago with a make-good gift of flavoring and chocolate from local chocolate and flavoring companies. If Arthur made good he was to pay them back.
Arthur and his family did make good but driven by rising rent my Grandpa Anderson left the city in 1926 and bought a house on what is today Route 12 in Richmond. He ran his business out of his front porch and living room selling candy in the cool months, ice cream in the summer.
In 1933 the whole nature of the business changed after Grandpa and his family visited the Chicago World's Fair. He came home with the first air conditioner in McHenry County, which allowed him to sell chocolates year round.
(When you come into my shop in Richmond, just 40 minutes east on Route 173, you can still see the original arched frame of the refrigerator style door that kept the cool air in Grandpa Anderson's showroom. The house printed on the boxes of chocolates we sell today was my Grandpa Anderson's home and it is still the home of my business today.)
You see, when you buy Anderson's Candy, you're not just taking home the best chocolates in the country you're buying a piece of my family history and my passion.
Grandpa Anderson's motto was no fancy packaging just the best candy you can buy and that's what you get when you buy Anderson’s.
Times got tough during the Great Depression and the war years for Grandpa and his candy business. He had sell off parts of his property in order to keep the business going.
The candy shop almost closed during the Second World War because of rationing on chocolate and sugar supplies. During the war years, Grandpa Anderson went to work in a defense plant but each month he would save up supplies. When they had enough, he and Grandma Anderson would open the store for a day but, you know, even with a limit of one box per customer, their supply would sell out in just a few hours.
Grandpa passed his passion for chocolate down to his son, my father, and that passion is at work in me and the chocolates available for you today.
My father Raynold Anderson was away fighting in Europe during the Second World War. When he returned, he took over daily operation of the candy shop and married my mother Violet.
While my Grandpa Anderson established the business, my father expanded it. The post war economy boomed and people took to the roads to travel like never before.
Tourists would pass our shop on their way to Rockford, Chicago and Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, making sure to stop at Anderson's Candy Shop to pick up candy and to talk to the humble candymaker and his family on the way.
Throughout my dad's time leading the business our methods never changed. In the cooking room, Dad used the same recipes and methods grandpa taught him and he passed those on to my brother and I. I am teaching them to my children today.
You can taste the difference tradition makes when you buy a box of Anderson's Candy. My brother Lars and I took over Anderson's Candy Shop in the late 1980s but we continue to practice the same standards of production and service our parents and grandparents showed us years ago.
A lot has changed in the world in 100-some years but at Anderson's things are still done the old-fashioned way. We use only the best ingredients including double refined sugar, butter, aged vanilla and cream. We hand make all of our candy, cooking it in small batches and using recipes handed down through three generations.
I personally answer phone calls, e-mails and talk to our customers in the shop in Richmond every week. And our loyal customers appreciate the difference passion and tradition make when producing gourmet chocolates.
You'll taste the difference too when you buy a box of Anderson's Candy today.
To read more about our family and the sweet life making candy at Anderson's, visit our blog at www.andersonscandy.blogspot.com