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Chicago-based Fannie May Confections Inc., which was bought this spring by Utah-based Alpine Confections and its real estate partner North Development Co., began re-opening its retail candy stores yesterday. Alpine plans to re-open a total of 47 retail locations, most of them in metro Chicago, including two in Wisconsin and four in northwest Indiana.

Alpine bought the brand, along with the related Fanny Farmer brand and a number of company-owned retail properties, from Archibald Candies for about $38.6 million as part of a winning bid at a bankruptcy sale. Archibald filed Chapter 11 reorganization earlier this year, for the second time in less than two years. The brand’s retail stores were closed as a part of the bankruptcy, but the candies have been available in the interim at area grocery stores and on line, manufactured by Alpine under a licensing agreement.

The first Fannie May store to return is near Chicago Ridge Mall at 95th St. and Ridgeland Avenue in southwest suburban Oak Lawn, IL, which opens this morning. The first 100 customers in the store after it opens will receive a free one-pound box of Fannie May candy. The other stores will open on a staggered schedule continuing into mid-November.

“We’re carrying on the Fannie May tradition for future generations, with stores opening in time for the holidays,” says Alan Petrik, EVP and general manager of Fannie May Confections, stressing the continuity between the re-opened stores and the old Fannie May. “Each store will have a broad array of chocolates, just like our customers remember. They’ll still be able to hand-pick assortments of candy and fudge at the counter, and we’ll have longtime favorites pre-packaged, like the Colonial Box, Buttercreams, Caramels, Pixies, Mint Meltaways and Trinidads.”

Founded 10 years ago in Salt Lake City, Alpine is known for a number of confectionery brands, including Harry London, Kencraft, Maxfield’s, Hallmark Chocolatier, Mrs. Fields, Botticelli, and Dolce D’Or. According to the company, it has sales in excess of $80 million annually, exclusive of the newly acquired Fannie May and Fanny Farmer brands.

Fannie May is a storied candy brand in the Chicago market, dating back to the company’s founding by H. Teller Archibald, who opened a candy shop in Downtown Chicago in 1920. At its height, the brand sold candy at more than 250 company-owned stores in 17 states and the District of Columbia.

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