Jelly Belly Makes Candy for 100-Years in North Chicago. Honored by the City in Special Dedication on Saturday
NORTH CHICAGO, ILL. -- In 2013, Jelly Belly Candy Company in North Chicago, Ill. celebrates its factory centennial, marking 100 years since beginning production in the company’s longest operating factory. In August, the City of North Chicago honored this anniversary during the Eighth Annual North Chicago Community Days Celebration. Bill Kelley, fourth generation candy maker and vice chairman of the company, participated in the celebrations.
At the time the factory opened in 1913, then called Goelitz Confectionery Company, a handful of workers crafted, hand-poured and packaged fine quality buttercream candies (including the most successful, Candy Corn). The sons of Gustav Goelitz, a German immigrant who learned the art of candy making a generation before, purchased the land and built a factory for the family’s growing candy venture. Within a few years of producing in North Chicago during World War I, the United States Navy was months away from implementing plans to use the factory for military production. The effort was dropped when the War suddenly ended.
The company has made candy in the same location ever since. Mr. Kelley, great grandson of Gustav Goelitz, grew up in and around the factory, and draws some of his earliest memories from inside its walls.
“I remember walking up the steps into the office. My dad took me into the factory. Some employees were finishing candy in wooden polishing drums. Others were packing mellocreme bananas. I stuffed my pockets with them!” says Mr. Kelley.
The facility has been through a lot in the last 100 years, including expansions that caused the company to add land and buildings, increase work force and eventually change its name to Jelly Belly Candy Company in 2001. Today, the Jelly Belly factory in North Chicago produces and ships gourmet candy to the U.S. and Canada, including Jelly Belly® jelly beans, Chocolate Malt Balls and the company’s heritage confection, Candy Corn.
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