Raise The Candy Bar

Place your candy orders today to make it a sweet day! Call us at: 847-677-5777

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Five Foot Chocolate Menorah

I know Chanukah is over but during the holiday season I was unable to blog because we were thankfully busy.

This year we had the oppotunity to do somehting truly unique, to create a five foot tall chocolate menorah.

So the story goes like this...

Several months back the Gurnee (a suburb of Chicago) Chabad Rabbi and his Wife came into the store. They wanted to know if we could we make a 5 foot tall chocolate menorah to light at their Chanukah party at the mall.

I of course said no problem.

Well it was not as easy as I thought but we were able to create a 5 foot tall menorah.

Take a look at the images.

Image courtesy of www.jshumanphotography.com

Image courtesy of www.jshumanphotography.com

Image courtesy of www.jshumanphotography.com

 After the Chanukah party I took the Chocolate Menorah apart and set it up in the store. This Chocolate Menorah will be a part of the store every year from now on.

Being the candy man is sweet.

Have a sweet day!

Friday, November 30, 2012

2012 World of Chocolate

For the last several years we have participated in the Aids Foundation World of Chocolate Gala. The event is lots of fun people eat lot of chocolate and it gives us an opportunity show off our creativity.

So this year for the World of Chocolate we actually created a World of Chocolate, a picture is worth a 1000 words .....

Illinois Nut & Candys 2012 World of Chocolate Display, a chocolate map of the continents

Have a sweet day!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Even Bad Publicity is a good thing

Sorry for the span between posts but if I don't have anything interesting to write I don't.

But here is an interesting story. About a month or so ago in Synagogue a gentleman came up to me and said something to the effect of " I was watching PBS the other night and all of a sudden your store was on the screen I was so excited for you did you know about it?

I answered honestly that I had no idea what he was talking about, but he went on to tell others about it which was great.

Then a few weeks later he called my Dad who called me to say the show was about to be rerun.

So I called a friend with a DVR and asked her to record it for me.

Here is how bad publicity is even good.

The show was "Architect Michael Grave a Grand Tour", sound good right.

In theory yes were people talking about it yes but when the show was talking about the form of architecture used to design the strip mail we are in right as they showed my store the narrator referred to this form as a joke?


So tell me is our store a facade a joke? Perhaps before we branded it.

Not sure but at least people were talking about our store.

So even bad publicity is good when it comes to the life of the candy man.

Have a sweet day!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Thrill of Victory

In the last week I have experienced to quote the TV show the Wide World of Sport "The Thrill of victory and the agony of defeat"

How you may ask? First the thrill with our winning the Evanston Burger war wiht the most creative burger.

Thank you to all voted early and often I could not have done it without your suport.

What was the most exciting part of the contest was that it allowed my staff to show off their creativity. This same creativity allowed us to help our bride Missy win the TLC reality show the Four Weddings earlier this year, as well as help countless clients brand their gifts from chocolate mice to chocoalte printer cartridges and chocolate shoes and logos in between. 

But the week started off with finding out that we did not win the Facebook, Living Socail grant. Oh well nothing in this world is free and that includes the free money I was hoping to get.

So to all have a sweet day and to my Jewish followers have a sweet and healthy new year.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Happy Eight Years

It has been eight years since we bought the business. Wow, how time has flown by.

This past year we had some siginificant accomplishment:
But the most significant accomplishment is that we are still in business and we owe that to you our customers.   So thank you for allowing us to continue to serve you.   

Have a sweet day!   


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Burger Wars

The life of the candy man is an interesting,  one day I can be helping a client talking about chocolate lobsters and then I can be at a networking event and hear that one of chambers I am involved with is Having a Burger War.

A burger war what does the candy man know about hamburgers? Actually I can grill a pretty good one but I digress, the contest the chamber was running which starts today has three categories 1) Taste 2) Creativity 3) Presentation.

I know our chocolate is good but better that an beef burger in a burger contest -- perhaps if you are vegan. So I figured we would go for the creative angle and create the ultimate chocolate hamburger and fries plate.

In addition to the fancy plate you can also purchase a milk or semi sweet chocolate burger on a stick.

So let the voting begin you can vote once a day starting today through September 16th.

In our great Chicagoland tradition please be sure to vote often.

Have a sweet day!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

National S'mores Day

Who knew that there was an actually a day called National S'mores day!

Well I just found out that Friday August 10th is National Smores day which is why I am posting twice in one week.
So to honor this confectionary holiday we are selling s'mores on August 10th for $2.00 a smore instead of the usual $2.50 that is more than 15% off of the regular price.

Here is what is special about our s'mores A traditional s'more is a graham cracker sandwich filled with chocolate and marshmallows. Our s'mores are a graham cracker sandwich filled with marshmallows and then covered in chocolate  -- our own special twist on this national favorite.

Have a sweet day!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Wedding + Chocolate = Happily Ever After

2 piece chocolate barks and Chicago Skyline Chocolate Bar
Our Chicago Skyline chocolate bars and 2 piece
chocolate barks recently aided in the success of a
client's wedding weekend. 
At Illinois Nut & Candy we help people with life cycle events, usually happy ones like: weddings, bar \ bat mitzvahs, birth dates and personal successes stories.  Of course, we are also there when the sad ones happen including Shiva /Bereavement.

Thankfully at Illinois Nut & Candy, the happy moments far out number the sad ones. One of the happier moments that we recently had was for a couple getting married in late July. They were looking for help with hospitality bags for their hotel guests.  The couple had a moderate budget, and they wanted to assemble bags on their own.

Many ideas went back and forth through e-mail for months out, but as the weeks passed and the date neared a few phone were made and finally a decision.  The reception was for 40, and their hotel block consisted of 5 rooms. The reason I say this is that we put the same care in the big parties as we do the smaller ones.

In the end, the couple went with a 2 piece chocolate bark combination of Smooth Peanut Butter Bark and Chocolate M&M Bark for each table setting, and Chicago Skyline chocolate bars for their out of town guests staying at the hotel. And a special thank you to Jennifer for letting put her email in my blog ...

Dear David, Thank you again for accommodating our last minute order. The skyline bars and chocolate barks were a big hit. We think we got about as many compliments on the chocolate as we did our ceremony and reception. Our friend Carleen said she devoured the skyline bar after checking in, thinking she would just take a bite before heading to the ceremony. Another friend, Michael said he couldn't remember a chocolate bar that was as creamy and smooth as the skyline bar, and regretted that he couldn't finish the bar, because his +1 yanked it out of his hand. The restaurant placed the barks Peanut Butter side up at our reception and they looked great against the Fern Bichon linens and Chocolate L'Amour runners. What doesn't go good with Chocolate? Thanks 1000x to you and your staff.
Please give us a call if your next event could use a custom chocolate touch, or if you're seeking Chicago themed treats for your out of town guests.

And if you are looking to have a large event see video our Wizard of Oz themed sweets table featured on TLC's Four Weddings.

Another sweet moment in the Life of the Candy Man!

Have a sweet day!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Time for a Nutty Contest

When people ask me how my day is I either say its sweet or nutty.

The same way when people ask me what my title is I often say that I am the head nut.

Well after you read this you may think that I have gone nuts.
This blog entry starts the Search for the Ultimate Illinois Nut Fan.

Here is how you can enter....

  1. Come into the store and put on our nut costume and tell a rated PG or less nut joke that we can post on our youtube channel.
  2. Come into the store and put on our nut costume do your best nut dance wearing the costume to the tune of our wowwy zowwy gum ball machine that we can post on our youtube channel.
  3. Tell your story of why you are nuts about Illinois Nut & Candy that we can post on our youtube channel wearing the costume is a plus.
  4.  Take a picture in out nut costume holding up a sign that that says I Love Illinois Nut  & Candy that we can post on our Facebook wall.
  5. Tell what you are most nuts about at Illinois Nut & Candy and why.
Never fear for those out of town here is how you can enter:
  1. email a video of you telling why you love Illinois Nut & Candy (costume not required though any costume will do).
  2. email a picture of you holding up a sign that that says I Love Illinois Nut & Candy that we can post on our Facebook wall. 

Everyone who enters is a winner. Here is what you will win.

All Participants will receive a bag of popcorn.
Video entries will receive 15% off of your purchase that day.
Photo entries will receive 10% off of your purchase that day.
Email entries will be given a promo code equal to in store entries as well as receive a bag of popcorn with online purchase.

The contest has no end date at this time but the monthly winner of the most views on youtube or likes on Facebook will receive a confection of his/her choice starting August 31,2012.

All contest entries must be 18 years of age or older unless given parental consent. Each participant must sign a waiver giving Illinois Nut & Candy rights to the pictures and videos and allow Illinois Nut & Candy to post the videos/ pictures on line. Lastly discounts given are not valid with other offers or applicable to customization charges.

Thank you for being nuts about Illinois Nut & Candy.

Have a sweet day!


Friday, July 13, 2012

Chicago Themed Chocolate Souvenir

Have you ever needed a Chicgao themed gift?

Well, over the years we have gotten the request from corporations and party planners that they need a Chicago themed gift so we have added them to our repertoire of unique gifts.

We stared with the Chicago Skyline puzzle which has been used by many

but then reuquests came for smaller options which is when we stared to offer

 two different sized chocoalte bars both that featured a chocolate Chicago skyline.

Which gets me to the latest Chicago themed gift, like many of our unique molded chocolates the idea came from sitting with clients and trying to meet their needs with a semi branded gift.

Recently I met with a prospective customer she loved our International Thank You box of chocolates and wanted to know if we could do something similiar but Chicago themed. So after the staff and I thought about how not to get sued for violating a trade mark we came up with the following

This Chicgao Themed Box of chocolate features the skyline and some of Chicago's best known streets and neighborhoods which include 35th St, Addison, Astor St, Belmont, China Town, Division, Grant Park, Lake Shore Dr, Lincoln Park, Little Italy, Maxwell St, Michigan Ave, Oak St, Rush St, State St, Waveland Ave.

The Life of the candy man is sweet.

Have a sweet day!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Hot of the Fourth of July

It was really hot in Chicagoland on the 4th of July well over 100 degrees  but what is the difference between 100 and 104 not much.

Like we do every year we asked our friends  and their families to march with us in the Skokie 4th of July parade. Thank you to all who braved the heat and helped to pass out over 10,000 pieces of candy to the community.

Though it was hot we all all had fun and maybe found a new customer or two.

Our marches marched to the song the candy man being played on a loud speaker mounted to our van.

Want to march with us next year let me know it is a fun thing to do with your kids.

This week in the sweltering heat the life of the candy man was sweet, but it is just too hot thank G-d for air conditioning,

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Radio Print Web & TV

This has been an exciting six months for the store. In the last six months we have been featured on TV, (TLC The Four Weddings, Discovery Channel How It's Made, Fox Business and our local NBC News) additionally the store was featured in the local Pioneer press which was then picked up by the Chicago Sun Times.
click here to listen to radio segment

The great press continued with being featured in a segment on the local radio station WIND on the show game changers, and most recently I had an appearance on the web TV show CEOInronet.

click here to watch show

With all this exciting press one thing has not changed at the store, our commitment to indulgence.  That being said we are not resting on our laurels. we are hard at work developing new recipes and expermenting with new flavors like our latest the Key Lime Truffle.

WIth a lot of hard work and help from the man up above, the life of the candy man has sure been sweet.

Have a sweet day!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Your Search for Lactose Free Pareve Chocolate Chips is Over

Did you hear the big news?

Trader Joe's semi-sweet chocolate chips will no longer be certified nondairy.

This may not sound like a big deal to the average person but to those who keep Kosher or have dairy allergies this is really big news.

I am here to say do not worry, because at Illinois Nut and Candy online at http://www.raisingthecandybar.com/ we offer several type of Pareve Chocolate Chips.

The first type type of our  Lactose Free Pareve Chip is the:

Lactose Free Pareve Mini Chocolate Chips

Next we offer the:
Lactose Free Pareve Chocolate Chips

Finally we offer
Lactose Free Pareve White Chocolate Chips


So as an incentive for you to try our lactose free pareve chocolate chips and baking supplies we invite you to come in the store with your last empty bag of Trader Joe's semi-sweet chocolate chips and get 10% any of our baking items including our large variety of sprinkles and sanding sugars.

Have a sweet day!


Friday, May 18, 2012

Love is in the Air

Like I have said before the life of the Candy Man is sweet especially when I get to help someone make a love connection.

A Love Connection in May?

We actually had 2 today.

First was earlier today around 7:00am before the store opened I got a call from a person in his car who was looking for Chocolate Strawberries to surprise someone special with. I explained that this was a special order and we did not have strawberries but he could get them later in the day.

He explained he needed them now for an early morning surprise -- so I suggested dipped glaced fruit not strawberries but close.

He was happy and was on his way before 7:30am.

The Love Connection we made today was using our Spell it in Chocolate box. One of my staff took an order for a box with the message I Love You.

So for just an ordinary Friday in May there was love in the Air at Illinois Nut & Candy.

Have a sweet day!  

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Candy Man's Adventures at the 2012 Candy Show

I has been a year since my last visit to the candy show. As I tell my friends walking 24 rows of candy is a tough job.

They laugh when I say that but think about it for a minute regardless of your industry when you walk a trade show is it not work?

OK my work is sweeter than most but at the end of the day I have a goal to find new and exciting items to bring to the store.

This year I found some new items for the store

We are going to start carrying Gluten Free cookies individually wrapped. I tried them and you won't miss the Gluten. Those items are already available it is great when you can buy a booth at the end of the show.

The next to arrive hopefully next week is a line of natural gummy candies. This is great since as I have mentioned before my son is allergic to food coloring can you imagine being the son of the Candy Man and being allergic to food coloring?

Then soon to follow is a natural Australian Licorice. This was an item that I found last year except the company that we were supposed to get it from showed the product and then never produceed it. This is a new company with a superior product. I am very excited about it and will be ordering it today.

Some big news from the show is we will start to carry yummy earth buttons in bulk.

My last news of the show is that I found a company that has great pressed candy in some really cool shapes. Here is the problem they do not have a local distributor which means I would need to bring in a pallet of product at a time. Though we bring pallets in all the time it is never of just one type of product. This is a big decision not to be made lightly. If I decide to bring in the product I will be sure to put it on the web and let everyone know.

Other than that the show had some great samples and I ate my way through the show. The one thing that I missed was the ice cream samples.

Oh well I saved a few calories.

Have a sweet day!

Friday, May 4, 2012

It has been a while....

Sorry all it It has been a while since my last post.

I wish I had written sooner but when you take 1 week off for a holiday like I did for Passover some times it is hard to start writing again.

I wanted today to write about an exciting thing that aired last week

Several month ago I was approached to be on a radio show called Game Changers.

Why you might ask am I am game changer?

Well as the candyman I have helped our clients brand themsleves in unique sweet ways via corporate gifts.

So a few weeks ago I went out to their studion and partook in a pretaped on air interview. You can listen to the interview by clicking this link. (I am about 11 minutes in)

What I found most interesting about the experience was the following
  1. Talking to the media gets easier and is more fun each time
  2. Other small business people are going through the same types of things regardless of the industry.
I hope you enjoy listening to the show and promise to write about what is going on more regularly.

If you are in Chicgaoland come visit me at the Children Kohl Musuens Touch A Truck show this Sunday from 10am-2pm.

Have a sweet day!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Our Latest Passover Product

Sorry it has been a while since my last post, we got very busy getting ready for Purim and then Passover and Easter.

Well we caught up.

Several months back I got a phone call from Jewish Women Magazine. The reported named Sue wanted to know about our latest Passover Items.
 I told her that last year we came out with Coffee Bark and the Four Sons.

She said OK but what about somehting cute for girls?

I asked what she had in mind she responded that we should have the Kos Miriam.

Having never heard of it, I googled it to learn more. As I read and talked I let her know it was a great idea and asked when her deadline was. She told me in 5 days.

I told her now problem -- I called my graphic artist told her what I needed. Then I called my mold maker and told him I needed a favor and then low and behold I had a Chocolate Kos Miriam

So thank you to Sue from the Jewish Women Magazine (click here to read article)and to my great vendors who helped make this new addition to our Passover selections possible. 

Happy Passover and Happy Easter to all.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Candy Man Went to Washington

Well much has happened since I last wrote.

First on February 13th the Day before Valentine's Day fox Business spent the day in the store doing stories on chocolate and Valentine's day. You can see one of the stories on my youtube channel if you click the below image.

Or click each of the videos seperatley below.
  video 1  video 2   video 3  video 4  video 5

Normally I keep this blog cute and sweet telling what has happened in the store but this blog I will end slightly political being the candy man went to Washington.

On February 15th I left for DC to lobby for small business rights.

Thanks to the JB2B and SBAC I was fortunate to have this opportunity.  A friend asked why I was taking my time to do this my response was simple if you don't speak up you can't complain that you are unhappy how the system works.

I have many political thoughts but I want to keep this blog relatively politically neutral place since as State Representative Dold said most of the country is between the 30 yard lines. And the reality is that people come to the store for confections not for my political thoughts. But the main reason that I went to DC is because the health care system is broken.

Elliot Richardson from the SBAC did a great job bringing up the Illinois legislation that his group is trying to get passed in Illinois, but when I had the opportunity to speak with Sol Ross the Director of Business Outreach, Office for Intergovernmental and External Affairs, Department of Health  and  Human Services I felt it was my obligation to speak from the heart.

I expressed to him that a 12,000 page bill was passed without being read. He then showed me the cliff notes of the bill which is safe to say is so long it probably was not read either. I went on to tell him my thoughts on health care reform.

  • We agreed that currently the Supreme Court would decide if the current legislation was a violation of state rights but since a bill was passed I suggested the following solutions to an ugly problem
  • Pass legislation to get rid of pre-existing conditions.
  •  Allow businesses either in the same industry / similar industries to join national coops. This would for example allow all candy companies regardless of size to join together so I could buy insurance with Hershey and Mars which would reduce everyone overall costs by creating larger pools.
He was polite and may have been giving me lip service but I felt that I needed to tell someone my thoughts. Perhaps it sounds to simple but then again sometimes big problem have simple solutions.

While in Washington I also had the opportunity to talk to Senator Durbin,

while he and I did not agree I felt it necessary to tell him my thoughts on bail outs and government spending.  I had the opportunity to talk with  Representative Schakowsky, 
who offered information on how to access government bids. Additionally I met Senator Landrieu from the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship and a slew of aids some of which also offered ideas on how to bid on government contracts.

In the end a personal highlight was giving a packet of letters from my son's first grade class addressed to the President to one of his aids.

The life of the candy man is sweet.

PS I did leave a sweet impression on everyone I met when I gave them a chocolate business card.

PSS was this too political? If so sorry but I had to get it off my chest -- next topic something sweet!

Monday, February 13, 2012

A New Prodcut that I got to debut on National TV

We have been very greatful the last few months and have had some great media exposure.

It started out with benig on the local NBC station in December only to have our bride win the Four Weddings TV show in January and then in February we were honored to be called by Fox Business to have our store featured on the broadcast.

The Life of the candy man has been very exciting. But what is just as exciting is our latest item the Spell It In Chocolate box.

We have had sevearl people make requests to spell something in chocolate so we commisioned a custom set of molds made that allows people to spell their message in a 5X5 grid giving them 25 characters to express themselves, and if there are spaces we fill those spaces with truffles.

So I thought it would be great to unveil the item to Jeff Flock from Fox business when he was in our kitchen today with a message to them

Living the life of the candy man is sure sweet.  Watch on facebook and twitter for a link to our appearance or simply check out our youtube channel  incase you missed it.

Have a sweet day!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

TLC Four Weddings... and A Yellow Brick Road -- Our Client Won

Exciting things have happened since I last blogged.

Back in October I blogged about being hired by a client for a reality show.

I was not able to give details other than to show the finished product.

Well after months of waiting our client was a bride on the hit TV show on TLC the Four Weddings.

The exciting part is that she and her husband won a dream vacation. I like to think that the Emerald City candy table we created helped push them over the top.

I posted on our youtube channel a video that highlights the candy table at the wedding and what the other brides had to say about the wedding.  Click here to watch the episode ... and A Yellow Brick Road I am sure it will be on TLC again in the future.

But the best part is when we win so do you. Click this link to download a coupon to use in the store or online http://www.raisingthecandybar.com/ use promo code emeraldcity at check out to save 10% off of your purchase not redeemable with other offers or on special order items.

Living the Life of the CandyMan is sure Sweet!

As always have a sweet day!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Picture is Worth a 1000 Words

As we start 2012 I thought I would start the year with a picture that I took just before closing last Friday.

Publish Post

Living the life of the candy man is sure sweet.

Happy New Year and here is to a happy, healthy and sweet new year!