Saloniki-Greek Press -- May 29, 1915The Greek Confectionery Business
Continuing its study and report on Greek industrial, business, and financial enterprises in Chicago, Saloniki today discusses one of the important, and one of the first, business ventures which our people have engaged in ever since they first arrived in this country.
The confectionery store is one of our vital Greek businesses. Next to the restaurant and lunchroom business, the candy stores and soda fountains are the Greeks' main sources of livelihood. Many thousands of Greeks throughout the United States are employed in the manufacture and sale of confectionery products.
Starting with today, this paper invites every Greek confectioner to express his opinion freely in regard to the business, industrial organization, and general progress of our confectionery trade. Anyone may suggest ways and means through which we could attain greater progress, reap more benefits, and 2uplift the character and reputation of our Greek confectioners. This is a matter of necessity, since we live in a rapidly advancing and changing American business world.
The confectionery business today employs about fifty thousand Greeks throughout the United States. It is estimated that in every major city--for example, New York or Chicago--there must be over ten thousand candy stores. Our most progressive and industrious businessmen have taken up this very profitable industry, the founders of which were the very first Greek immigrants back in 1880 and 1890.
As it exists today, the confectionery business is a creation of our native Greek sense of beauty. For the establishment of these fine, clean, and luxurious stores, which are an adornment and a thing of beauty on the main streets of our American cities, the Greek confectioners certainly deserve more profits and greater recognition.3
In beginning our account of the Greek confectionery business in the United States, but more particularly in Chicago, we do not intend to shower any praise on confectioner A or B, as many other news organs have done and are still doing for the sake of petty interests; nor do we propose to blame or accuse anyone without some serious reason.
The purpose of this survey is practical and businesslike. The aim is to provoke a general discussion among our expert and practical confectioners for the purpose of finding the truth, and, on the basis of the truth, to formulate a policy by which greater co-operation, closer agreement, and a more effective organization could be achieved, not only among our confectioners in Chicago, New York, Boston, and other cities, but generally among all the confectioners in the United States. For let us not forget that they represent one half of our people who are engaged in business. No one can doubt that they are one of the most powerful, most productive, and most prosperous group of businessmen among the Greeks of America.4
Our Greek candy store proprietors, almost without exception, say that they are working day and night in order to pay for the fixtures and the marble plates of their soda fountains, purchased from various supply companies, which make a profit of five hundred per cent. These companies have shackled our business men with big debts amounting to many thousands of dollars. Before the mortgage notes are redeemed, the fountain becomes useless, or the style of the soda fountain has changed.
Our older candy store owners have become the victims of their desire to have beautiful and ornamental fixtures and soda fountains, while the younger proprietors buy economical equipment. They are prudent enough to avoid the unfortunate investments of their elders.
The Greek confectioners have begun to understand that cutthroat competition is a disastrous thing; that it does not pay to open up a new candy store next door to another confectionery; that it is not in the nature of the Greek to cause the other fellow's rent to rise; that courtesy and common decency 5do not permit the heaping of insults and malicious accusations upon our neighbor and competitor in the presence of our customers, nor is it decent to condemn the quality of another Greek confectioner's candy or ice cream.
The candy store business has, for quite a few years now, felt the need of forming a union of all confectionery store owners for the purpose of settling many differences within the industry, for the purpose of securing business co-operation, and in order to develop broader relationship for the common good. In addition, an agreement can be made to purchase merchandise and create a wholesale corporation for the purchase and production of confectionery goods. It would thus be possible to establish a corporate industrial concern for the manufacture of machinery and soda fountains.
All these thoughts, which have been expressed by interested businessmen as well as by Saloniki, may seem at first sight to be easy of accomplishment. It is easy to discuss future plans and improvements. It will be to our credit when we Greeks undertake the task of giving some meaning and practical direction 6to our hopes and plans for the reorganization and improvement of the confectionery business.
Our Greek businessmen are eagerly expected to use the facilities of this newspaper to voice their opinion on many phases of our business problems. Anyone may contribute brief articles related to the progress and welfare not only of the candy store business, but of any other important Greek business as well. In this way, we shall discover where our true interest lies in regard to our immediate problem, the confectionery business. Pertinent articles will be published free of charge.
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