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A Taste of Two Businesses

Who doesn’t love the smell of freshly baked breads and danishes, or the taste of decadent chocolate as it melts in your mouth?

There aren’t many people in Buffalo Grove who don’t enjoy these delicacies, with such tasty favorites as Deerfields Bakery and the Long Grove Confectionery making a sweet home in town.

DEERFIELDS BAKERY

Deerfields Bakery has been a part of the Buffalo Grove area since the Schmitt family opened its first business, Schmitt’s Bakery and Deli, back in 1886. This original location still stands within a few miles of the community, in nearby Deerfield. The business’s success over the last century (and then some) spurred its expansion out into Schaumburg and Buffalo Grove.

According to Tim Schmitt, one of the owners and part of the current managing family generation of Deerfields Bakery, the Buffalo Grove location was built from the ground up in 1993. The 17,000-square-foot site along Buffalo Grove Road, one block north of Lake Cook Road, was chosen for its well balanced and diverse demographic, as well as its proximity to the Deerfield location. “We built Buffalo Grove with the intention of it being our production facility and largest retail location,” says Schmitt. “Every evening, fresh baked product is delivered [from Buffalo Grove] to our other locations in Deerfield and Schaumburg.”

The charming two-level bakery is characterized by hardwood floors, ornate woodwork, vaulted ceilings, soothing music and, of course, the wonderful smells of delicious baked goods. Many of Deerfields’ traditional products are made by hand, including the croissants, which are individually hand rolled, and decorated cookies that are cut out by hand and decorated by talented staff members.

More than 100 people are employed at Deerfields Bakery—of which more than 1/5 have been with the business for 15-plus years. In fact, Deerfields’ production manager, Alfredo Gaytan, began his career with the business 31 years ago when he was hired by Tim’s grandfather, Henry Schmitt.

When asked to point out some of his favorites, Schmitt states, “There are too many to name!” And there’s no wonder, as Deerfields produces more than 1,000 distinct foods, ranging from donuts, sweet rolls and muffins to pies, cookies, cakes, tortes and breads. A new line of Gluten Free products is available in the store, as well as in Chicagoland area Whole Foods stores. The bakery even roasts its own coffee, Deer Joe Coffee, which features imported fair trade and organic green beans from all over the world. And, in Buffalo Grove, patrons can take a seat at the Café and choose from a menu of homemade gourmet soups, salads, sandwiches, French toast, pancakes, quiche and more.

In addition to serving up hungry customers, Deerfields Bakery has dedicated itself to taking part in the communities it serves as well. Each day, approximately 90 percent of the bakery’s daily product is donated to those in need. These delicious products are delivered to local food pantries, churches, synagogues and nursing homes, and are sure to put a smile on anyone’s face. Deerfields also sponsors a children’s sport team in each community, regularly participates in as many Buffalo Grove events and activities as possible and eagerly supports local schools, libraries, the Buffalo Grove Area Chamber of Commerce and other organizations in town.

Deerfields Bakery has certainly established a loyal following among Buffalo Grovians, who regularly come into the bakery to enjoy a fresh-from-the-oven treat, flavorful breakfast and lunch items, and gourmet coffee. “Buffalo Grove is a great community made up of wonderfully friendly people,” says Schmitt. “We know many of our customers by name and enjoy seeing their smiling faces each morning.”

LONG GROVE CONFECTIONERY CO.

The Long Grove Confectionery legacy goes back in time to the year 1887. It was then that John Mangel, founder of Mangel Florist, established his first shop in downtown Chicago. That entrepreneurial attitude made its way through the next generation, as John Mangel II and his wife, Heidi, opened a gift shop and greenhouse in historic Long Grove in 1967. Mangel and his wife established many other businesses, including the Long Grove Confectionery, which was created in 1975.

Today, the Long Grove Confectionery operates four locations in the Chicagoland area, including a modern 85,000-square-foot production facility, corporate headquarters and chocolate factory and store in Buffalo Grove. Every year, approximately 15,000 guests visit the confectionery to watch chocolates being made up close. Among the popular treats created here are peanut butter cups, caramel apples, English toffee, special holiday delights and the business’s trademark Myrtles (a blend of chocolate, caramel and nuts).

According to Jodi Hutch, director of retail and tour facilities, Long Grove Confectionery sets itself apart from others thanks to its quality craftsmanship, old-world chocolate- making techniques and distinguished packaging. The business is also a part of the community, as it regularly donates to the Little Limelight program, area fire departments and even offers its delectable treats to patrons at Buffalo Grove Days.

For just $2.00 a person, guests can tour the Chocolate Factory at 333 Lexington Drive and learn how chocolate is made, view production and packaging of the confectionery’s products and even purchase a sweet or two. In fact, those with a sweet tooth can peruse through hundreds of chocolate items with prices up to 75 percent off regular retail prices. Year-round tours are available Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m.-Noon, as well as Saturdays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at no cost.

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