The parent company of Garrett Popcorn shops has agreed to acquire the famed Frango chocolate brand from Macy’s, the companies announced Monday.
A Macy’s news release said Garrett Brands “will develop, create, sell and distribute Frango products consistent with the brand’s legacy as a superior chocolate and confectionary brand.”
Macy’s had inherited the Frango brand from Marshall Field & Co., which was acquired by Macy’s in 2005.
According to the news release, the Frango Café will remain open at Macy’s State Street store in Chicago (the former Marshall Field flagship location) and Frango products will still be offered at more than 350 other U.S. Macy’s locations, as well as at macys.com.
The Frango brand dates to 1918 in Seattle, where it was created for Frederick & Nelson department stores.
When Macy’s took over Marshall Field’s, its decision to change the name of the Chicago-area stores, where the brand history was strongest, met with some resistance among consumers and even by then-Mayor Richard M. Daley. But the deal got a little sweeter when Macy’s hinted it that Frangos might again be made in Chicago. Field’s had closed the 13th floor candy kitchen at its State Street store and fired 157 employees with no advance notice in 1999. Frango-making was transferred to Gertrude Hawk Chocolates of Dunmore, Pa.
Eventually, Macy’s kept that promise, and Frangos were again made in Chicago.
“Frango is a perfect fit for our company’s portfolio, aligning well with our strategy to preserve and grow iconic brands that have historic franchise value with a unique and storied past,” Lance Chody, owner and CEO of Garrett Brands, said in a statement. “This is an exciting opportunity to expand the reach and offerings of the delicious Frango confections consumers know and love to more people in more places, just as we have done with our other brands.”
Tim Baxter, chief merchandising officer for Macy’s, also issued a statement.
“We are happy to have found such a natural partner in Garrett Brands and are confident they will be great stewards of the Frango brand,” Baxter said. “We will continue to offer Macy’s customers the Frango products they love online and at Macy’s stores in Chicago, Seattle and across the country. And, given Garrett Brands’ history of thoughtfully growing brands, we are confident that this partnership will introduce new customers to premium Frango chocolates.”
Contributing: Fran Spielman