Sold: Frango chocolate brand
Steve’s breakdown: This is one of those stories that I bet you can get an assignment just by knowing about the news & knowing about the brand. Plus they’re planning on expanding the business so why not all.
The purchase would return the Frango brand, once the trademark premium chocolate brand of Marshall Field‘s, to local ownership.
Chicago-based Garrett plans to develop, sell and distribute Frango products “consistent with the brand’s legacy as a superior chocolate and confectionary brand,” the company said in a news release.
However, Garrett Popcorn Shops will not sell Frango products, said spokeswoman Michelle Molise.
Cincinnati-based Macy’s said it will continue to sell Frango products at all Chicago locations, including the Frango Shop in Macy’s State Street store, and at more than 350 other Macy’s stores across the country and online.
“Frango is very popular among both our local shoppers and visitors at our Chicago stores,” said Andrea Schwartz, a Macy’s spokeswoman. “It’s great to see such an iconic Chicago brand staying in Chicago.”
Garrett said it plans “to expand the reach and offerings” of Frango products.
“Frango is a perfect fit for our company’s portfolio, aligning well with our strategy to preserve and grow iconic brands that have historic franchise value with a unique and storied past,” said Lance Chody, owner and CEO of Garrett Brands, in a news release. “This is an exciting opportunity to expand the reach and offerings of the delicious Frango confections consumers know and love to more people in more places, just as we have done with our other brands.”
Long a signature brand of bygone Chicago department store Marshall Field’s, the Frango mint was actually a West Coast import created nearly a century ago by Frederick and Nelson Co., a Seattle-based chain acquired by Field’s in 1929. The mint was originally called Franco, an acronym of the department store’s name.
The mints, renamed Frango in 1934. were minted on the 13th floor of Field’s flagship State Street store for nearly 70 years. Minneapolis-based Dayton Hudson, which bought Field’s in 1990, outsourced production of Frangos to a Pennsylvania company in 1999 over the objections of civic leaders and longtime customers alike.
Federated Department Stores bought the parent of Field’s in 2005 and converted the Chicago-area stores to Macy’s. In 2007, Macy’s struck a deal with Chicago-based Cupid Candies, returning some production of Frangos to the city.
The acquisition by Garrett returns the Frango to local ownership as well, putting the mint under another quintessentially Chicago food brand. Best known for its caramel and cheese popcorn, Garrett opened its first store in the Loop in 1949. CaramelCrisp, a Chicago-based partnership founded by Chody, bought the company in 2005.
Selling off the Frango brand is the latest move by struggling retailer Macy’s, which earlier this month announced the closure of 68 stores, including one in west suburban Bloomingdale and two downstate locations, amid slumping sales and declining traffic. Macy’s said it expects to close 30 more stores over the next few years.