CHICAGO — Ferrara Candy Co. has moved back home.
That’s because Ferrara, maker of Sweetarts, Laffy Taffy and Trolli, started in 1908 as a small family-owned bakery just a few blocks from its new office in Chicago’s Old Post Office.
On Nov. 4, Ferrara became the first tenant in the remodeled building at 433 W. Van Buren St., moving its 400 employees into a 78,000-square-foot space on the sixth floor. That space will expand by an additional 35,000 square feet in 2020 as the team grows by 200 employees, said Mike Goldwasser, Ferrara’s chief human resources officer.
And, as one would expect at a candy company’s office, traces of Ferrara’s brand are everywhere, from the names of the conference rooms to the front lobby decorations.
Here’s a peek inside the new office …
The Old Post Office—which shuttered in the late ’90s and had been vacant since, according to Preservation Chicago—features many shared spaces for tenants, including a gym with a boxing ring, a bocce ball court, a bar and a still-under-construction food hall.
“The city affords us the opportunity to recruit and retain top talent, and our new headquarters provides an attractive, highly sought-after workspace,” Goldwasser said of why the company chose to move from its previous office in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.
Upon walking off the elevator and into Ferrara’s office, the first thing a visitor will see is a sign featuring the Ferrero and Ferrara names. Ferrara was bought out by Ferrero in 2017.
The entrance lobby has bins of candy for visitors (and employees) to sample, bags of candy hanging from the wall and a TV screen featuring Ferrara’s brands.
Capitalizing on character
Ferrara wanted to pull the character of the Old Post Office throughout their space while also reflecting the brand and culture of the company, Goldwasser said.
An original mail chute sits in a room just off Ferrara’s cafe and reads “Chicago Post Office 1908-1997.” The floor also features two original mail scales.
The open-concept office features desks that can rise so employees can stand as they work. Private meeting rooms surround the area, and a sign helps people locate the rooms with names that use some of Ferrara’s 35 brands, including Lemonhead, Gobstopper and Jaw Busters.
The new office houses Ferrara colleagues across the brands portfolio, including some new members that joined after Ferrero acquired Nestle U.S. Confectionery and Kellogg’s fruit snacks and cookie business.
The cafe has cold-brew coffee and beer on tap, snacks for employees and several seating areas.
“We took a 'concierge' approach to this space with the coffee bar and the different assorted items in the cafe that can easily be transformed for happy hour, cocktail receptions and meetings—a way to bring our people and partners together in this space,” Goldwasser said.
Letters on a wall in the cafe read “Sharing delight in every bite,” and behind it, the word “delight” is spelled out in metal pieces that were made with real Ferrara candy molds.