Saturday, January 9, 2016

Blommer Chocolate Company

From Yelp
Because Chicago had a lot of candy factories, Blommer built his chocolate company in Chicago in 1939. It is one of the few remaining industries left near the loop. I learned about it because I read about railroad cars being spotted next to it. Judging from a satellite image, they still receive covered hopper cars because I see four on the siding. I wonder if they are delivering cocoa beans.

I came across a posting were several people talked about the nice aromas they would smell outside of their office. Unfortunately, because of the complaint of one person to the EPA, I evidently won't be able to smell chocolate when I check out the Kinzie bridges. Given that they now have three other locations, Chicago is lucky that they installed a filter system in 2006 rather than simply close the plant since most of the candy manufactures have moved to Mexico because of the high tariff on sugar and because of the price of labor.

 Hopefully, they still give out free samples.

Update: Chicago Switching has pictures of an overviewrail operationsrail reconstruction, and an accident.

Frank X. Garcia posted
I grew up near Bloomers Chocolate CO., the aroma was always in the air as we played. 600 W. Kinzie.Fred Kuhrmeier used to deliver coco beans there.picked them up in the docks. [That doesn't bode well for the economics of rail transport given that they do have an industrial rail spur.]
Oren Hirschberger commented on above posting
Street view. I wonder if the covered hoppers on the left of the street view are going here. Note the bins in the background on the right.

Arvy J. Novahtskee posted
At Blommer Chocolate this morning.. [July 2, 2016]
Wayne Hudak posted
Taken in 1978 from the Sears (Willis) Tower. He notes the commuter trains are still using C&NW equipment. I noticed there is a clear view of the Bloomer Chocolate building.
Chicago Tribune, Nov 15, 2017
[ChicagoCurbed has more photos and information. There were no injuries. They also had a fire on Nov 3.]
It looks like the satellite image has been updated, and they are still getting four cars at a time.

A 2005 Flickr showing that UP serviced this plant.

Fuji Oil to Buy Largest Ingredient Chocolate Firm in U.S.

David Jordan Both the Chicago, IL and Union City, CA plants are served by Union Pacific.

Blommer Chocolate/Facebook via BlockClubChicago
[The bad news is that they are going to close their retail shop Feb 28, 2020. The good news is that the reason it is being closed is to make room for expanding the plant.]

Will G Benson shared
Travis Grupe Lukas Irons for sure. Served by two up locals. Veg oil on the bottom track and sugar on the upper track. Rumor was the retail store was closed for the factory modernization and they were looking to expand across the street. At one time cocoa beans were brought in railbox boxcars but had switched to containers.
Travis Grupe At one time cocoa beans were brought in railbox boxcars but had switched to containers.
Travis Grupe Dennis DeBruler The Panhandle/NS is a different set of tracks about 2 blocks to the south of here. I think there were a couple different things brought in by tank cars. They would stage extra tanks just to the north and under the bridge there. The cocoa beans stand out in my mind because I remember them in burlap sacks, but I think they also were delivered in bulk via hoppers. UP would switch the upper deck around 11am and if memory serves me correct the lower level was earlier in the morning 7-9am. I dated a girl that lived off of W.Grand back in the early 2000's, I would walk down to ADM too. I only caught the NS there a couple of times, there never was a good place to watch them switch. Sad to see it go though.
Bill Bergman posted
Michael Bandurski They mostly make coatings, powders and chunk or drop chocolates for confectioners.
Sean Huber Michael Bandurski true, but they also have an extensive selection of turtles coated nuts coated orange peel pretzles and other finished products.
Some of which are sold by Fannie Mae for 4 or 5 times the price and sourced directly from Blommer.

A Nick Hart drone photo of a local serving the plant

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