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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Immigrant forms thriving candy business in Chicago

In my previous life I was a computer software consultant for a product called SAP. I got to work at a bunch of neat companies. One of the accounts at the company I worked for was Ferrara Pan. They make Red Hots and Lemonheads, Boston Baked Beans and Atomic Fireballs out of their facility in Chicago. The company was started by Salvatore Ferrara, who came to the US from Italy without speaking much English. However, he worked at becoming fluent in the language, and because he could also speak Italian, he became an interpreter between crews working on the Santa Fe Railroad. He worked there for four years before he decided to open a confection and pastry shop. Salvatore grew the business for the next eleven years, growing significantly throughout the Midwest. At that time Sal and his brothers-in-law formed a partnership and built the manufacturing facility that is on the site currently. These same families continue to run the business today, almost ninety years later.