Made In Chicago - Participating Companies: Amusements, Baked Goods, and Beauty Products
Lakeland Musical Instruments
Founded in the mid-1990s, Lakland designs, produces and assembles electric bass guitars from a facility at 2044 N. Dominick St. All Lakland four-strings are 34" scale with either ash or adler bodies and maple, rosewood or ebony fingerboards.
Lyon & Healy Harps
From the hallowed halls of the Bolshoi Ballet to the cherished classrooms of The Paris Conservatory, Lyon & Healy Harps are acclaimed throughout the world for remarkable depth, clarity, design and craftsmanship. Each handmade instrument is instilled with at 150-year commitment to harp development. The 100-person company’s exquisite pedal and lever harps are displayed in a showroom at its five-floor production facility at 168 N. Ogden Ave.
One of the oldest toy company’s in the United States, Tootsietoy traces its past to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, where company founders, the Dowst brothers, recognized how a new German linotype machine could also be used to create novelty items. Adopting a daughter’s nickname “Toots” for the new company’s name, the brothers produced trinkets for Cracker Jack boxes, charms for the Monopoly board game, and eventually, the world’s first die-cast toy car. Today, the family-operated company is the world’s largest producer of bubble-blowing toys and cap guns. It also produces toy kitchen accessories, die cast vehicles and wood blocks. Located at 600 N. Pulaski Road, Tootsietoy is a division of Strombecker Corp.
Trains and Equipment Co.
Trains and Equipment Co. manufactures custom-engineered trains, trolleys, people movers and complete transportation systems for parks, zoos, nature conservatories, private estates and municipalities. Specialties include old fashioned trolleys, tracks, crossing gates, signals and other accessories suitable for historic settings. Located at 1750 N. Campbell Ave., the more than 50 year old company also performs system engineering, design, consulting and installation.
WMS Industries, 3401 N. California Ave., and its subsidiaries, Williams Electronics Games Inc. and WMS Gaming Inc., design and manufacture pinball games under the Williams and Bally names, and gaming devices under the WMS Gaming label. Research and development for the technology components in its machines and lottery terminals is being expanded at its Chicago location.
Chicago’s own Alpha Baking Company, Inc. was formed in 1979 when it bought Mary Ann Baking Company. Founded in 1935, Mary Ann was the originator of the Chicago-style poppy seed hot dog bun, which Alpha continues to bake for not only the Chicago market, but also for those selling Chicago-style hot dogs across the United States.
In 1981, Alpha purchased the S. Rosen's Baking Company, a Chicago staple of Jewish hearth rye breads and variety rolls since 1909. Through the years, Alpha has continued to grow through acquisition and currently sells its products under the S. Rosen’s, Mary Ann, Kreamo, Golden Hearth, and Natural Ovens brand names. Those products can be found in hundreds of Chicagoland area grocery stores, from large chains and club stores to independent shops.
Bay's English Muffins
George Bay opened a bakery in Chicago’s Loop in 1933 selling English muffins with the original recipe his English grandmother brought to the U.S. in the 1800s. Sold by the dozen in brown paper bags, the muffins were hand-delivered to restaurants, hotels and private clubs. In 1938, Bay’s was one of the first companies to package muffins in a box with a cellophane window. In the early 1970s, McDonald’s used Bay’s products when it introduced the Egg McMuffin breakfast sandwich. Bay’s remains a family business and adheres to the original recipe. James Jr. and George Bay are the third generation of the Bay family running the firm at 1026 W. Jackson Blvd.
C&C is a family owned and operated bakery specializing in hand made breadsticks called “grissini,” baked daily at 2655 W. Huron St. The company caters primarily to restaurants and hotels using only natural ingredients. It offers quick service to ensure the grissini never goes stale.
Paul Schulze and the Schulze Baking Co., today known as Chicago Baking Co., helped modernize the wholesale baking industry in the United States. In the wake of meat and food packing scandals which led to the 1906 Federal Meat Inspection and Pure Foods Act, Schulze led the crusade to convince American housewives that wholesale bakeries were more sanitary and made better bread than home kitchens. Schulze built the landmark Schulze bakery, 40 E. Garfield Blvd., and advertised it as the “City of Cleanliness.” In 1982, the facility was placed on the National Register of Historic places, representing the confluence of mass merchandising and manufacturing in Chicago. Today it bakes goods for a variety of brands.
Eli’s uses more than 4 million pounds of cream cheese, 500,000 pounds of eggs, and more than 1 million pounds of sugar per year in producing its famous cheesecakes and other baked products. Based in a 62,000-foot production and distribution facility at 6701 W. Forest Preserve Ave., the company bakes more than 10,000 cheesecakes a day with a recipe invented by Eli Schulman as a signature dessert for his popular restaurant, Eli’s the Place for Steak. The cheesecake is available in all 50 states and parts of Europe and Asia.
Founded in 1886 as a storefront bakery on Chicago’s DeKoven Street by Alessandro Gonnella, Gonnella Baking today produces nearly 1 million pounds of products per week in three plants, including its corporate headquarters at 2002 W. Erie St. Gonnella has consistently ranked as one of the nation’s top 100 bakeries since entering the frozen dough market in the 1970s. More than 25 family members still work for Gonella under President Robert Gonnella’s philosophy: “Success is a little luck and an awful lot of hard work. Take care of the customers, serve them well, and the rest will take care of itself.”
The Keebler Chicago bakery at 108th Street and Langley Avenue is one of the world’s largest producers of ice cream cones and cups under one roof, producing vanilla cups and cones, sugar cones, waffle cones, waffle bowls, and fudge-dipped cups. In an average day, the bakery’s 28 ovens bake more than 3 million cups, cones and bowls for shipment across United States and overseas. Keebler was established as the Illinois Baking Company by Max Goldberg in 1931.
Nabisco’s 1.6 million-square-foot production facility at 7300 S. Kedzie Ave. is one of the world’s largest bakeries. The sprawling, Southwest Side complex employs more than 2,000 workers who produce 320 million pounds of Oreo cookies, Ritz crackers, Fig Newtons and other snack foods every year. The company has had a manufacturing presence in Chicago since 1953 and a corporate presence since 1898, when its predecessor, the National Biscuit Company, opened corporate offices in the world’s first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Building, in the Loop.
National Baking is a wholesale baker of par-baked and finished sandwich buns, sandwich rolls, breads, dinner rolls and rye breads. The company distributes across the country and is also a contract baker for S. Rosen’s, MaryAnn, Golden Hearth, Castle, Kreamo, CableCar, Hawaiian Bread, and Just Baked brands. National Baking’s 450 employees work out of a production facility at 5001 W. Polk St. The company is a division of Alpha Baking, headquartered at the same location.
Nicole’s Divine Crackers
Chef Nicole Berger partner Grace Colucci produce specialty crackers, breads, quiches and cookies from a baking facility at 1505 N. Kingsbury St. The company’s products are sold at Dominick’s, Whole Foods, Treasure Island and other shops.
Poppie’s Dough started in 1986 when Howard Carson was commissioned by a Chicago restaurant group to develop cookies for its menu. He created five types of cookie dough that became the foundation for a broad line of Poppie’s products. The company’s cookies, cakes, brownies, dessert bars, muffins, croissants and scones are made from scratch and prepared to perfection. Every batch is loaded with only the freshest and finest natural ingredients: Wisconsin AA butter, European Chocolate, Nuts, Pure Vanilla and Fresh Fruit. Poppie’s Dough is a Women’s Business Enterprise, certified by the City of Chicago. Its products are sold at Sopraffina Marketcaffes and Lavazza Cafes.
Rubschlager Baking Corporation Fred Rubschlager founded Rubschlager Baking Corporation in Chicago in 1913 as a neighborhood bakery called Rubschlager Brothers Bakery. Rubschlager remains a family-owned business that distributes its cocktail breads and other bread products in supermarket delis and specialty stores throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Paul and Joan Rubschlager, specialty food industry icons, have run the company since 1960.
Schulze and Burch Biscuit Co.
Schulze and Burch Biscuit Co. operates a 350,000-square-foot bakery at 1133 W. 35th St., where 500 people manufacture Toast’em Pop-Ups along with crackers, granola bars and cereal. The company was the first in the United States to use traveling steel ovens. During World War II, it baked round biscuits for C-rations and, along with other foods such as lemonade powder, packed them into cans for the U.S. Army. Following the war, the company introduced the saltine cracker and the four-in-one pack under the Flavor Kist brand. The company’s history is traced back to 1923 when Paul Schulze and his son Paul Jr. founded the Paul Schulze Biscuit Company.
H2O Plus, 845 W. Madison St., is a creator, developer, manufacturer and distributor of innovative skin care, spa, fragrance and bath products. In 1989, after 18 months of concept development, including product, package and store design, H2O Plus was launched with the opening of its first company-owned store on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue. The H2O Plus product concept is a sea-inspired approach to skin care with many marine-derived ingredients and more than 600 in-house formulations. Products are sold in retail outlets worldwide, including more than 40 company stores in the U.S.
Luster Products is the country’s leading minority-owned manufacturer of salon and consumer hair care products servicing people of African descent. It was founded in 1957 by Chicago hair dresser Fred Luster and today employs 400 people worldwide. Its main production facility and corporate offices span 17 acres at 1104 W. 43rd St.
Soft Sheen produces a wide variety of personal hair care products from a 550-person manufacturing facility at 1000 E. 87th St. Brands produced for professional cosmetologists and retail sales include Optimum, Care Free Curl, Frizz Free, and Sportin’ Waves.
Chicago-based Sunstar Americas, is part of the Sunstar Group of companies, a global organization founded in Japan in 1941, which now has worldwide sales of over $1 billion with offices in 15 countries. Sunstar’s mission is to always strive to help people everywhere achieve better health and enhance their quality of life via its four business areas: mouth and body, health and beauty, healthy home and safety, and technology.
Sunstar’s well-known Butler® brand of professional dental products and GUM® brand of consumer oral hygiene products have been two of the dental profession’s most trusted and recommended brands for more than 60 years. Butler® and GUM® products are designed in consultation with dental professionals and manufactured to the highest quality standards, assuring product excellence and patient satisfaction. Sunstar’s retail products are sold at major retailers including Target, Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid and other fine retailers.