Champaign Fannie May will reopen in the fall

CHAMPAIGN – There's good news in store for your sweet tooth: You won't have to go one more Easter or Valentine's Day without a Fannie May fix.

The Champaign Fannie May store at 402 S. Neil St. will reopen sometime in the fall, according to Alpine Confections Inc., the Utah company which submitted the winning bid for the Fannie May and Fanny Farmer brands and 31 company-owned retail stores.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois approved Alpine's $38.9 million bid more than a month ago, and this week Alpine announced plans to open 30 Fannie May stores in Illinois and Indiana.

The former stores at Market Place Mall in Champaign, Lincoln Square Mall in Urbana and Village Mall in Danville weren't included on the list. All four stores closed earlier this year. Managers of all three malls said they have not had any contact with Alpine about the possibility of opening stores there.

Alpine confections said other locations to reopen will be announced after it completes an evaluation, and some locations may include other former stores and some may be brand new locations. A total of 40 stores will be opened by the end of the year, mostly in the Chicago area, the company said.

Alpine Confections Co-President David Taiclet said the company has had many calls asking when stores will be brought back, and its goal is to build Fannie May into a retail chain with strong locations. Decisions on which stores to open initially have been based on business performance criteria, he said.

Alpine Confections, a privately-owned company founded 10 years ago in Salt Lake City, Utah, is already producing some of Fannie May's most popular products under an interim licensing agreement and distributing them through such retailers as the Jewel and Dominick's chains and the Fannie May Web site at www.fanniemay.com/.

Those candies, which are being made with traditional Fannie May recipes, include Pixies and Mint Meltaways, the company said. In addition to Fannie May, the company's brands also include Mrs. Fields', Hallmark Chocolatier, Harry London, Dolce D'Or, Botticelli, Kencraft and Maxfield's.

Alpine Confections said its Fannie May brand headquarters will be in Chicago.

You can reach Debra Pressey at (217) 351-5229 or via e-mail at dpressey@news-gazette.com.

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