Together Forever after 25 Years
In 1981, Chicago Gourmet Specialties was formed. After being in business for one year, the company split, giving birth to Chicago Gourmet Specialties and A La Carte. Then, after a 22-year-long seperation, the two companies were reunited in 2003 under the A La Carte umbrella and new ownership. This year, the company is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
“Both companies had grown in different directions over the 22 years they were apart,” noted Mike Shulkin, principal. “Chicago Gourmet Specialties was more customer-service and computer oriented, and A La Carte had a lot of new production capabilities that Chicago Gourmet didn’t have. The combination worked well, and everyone is very close. It’s very much like one company that has been together for a long time.”
To celebrate the milestone, A La Carte is introducing a special Anniversary Holiday Catalog, which will be available in early September. The 8-page catalog will feature a variety of high-end gift items. “We have some unbeliveably good new fillers, one is a triple-thick, malted milk shake, and another is a chocolate-panned fruit,” mused Shulkin. “The catalog features a number of new items that are a bit more lavish than what we have previously produced for the holidays.”
As part of the year-long celebration, the company is also introducing a selection of new items for its annual catalog. “We are at the beginning stages of finalizing some of our new products,” he said. “They are not revolutionary items, but they are certainly unique to us and the way we do business.”
Shulkin said new merchandising was initiated to get employees excited about the company’s anniversary. “This is part of the internal things we are doing to get people excited about our anniversary,” he said. “Product ideas are coming from both our customer service and factory employees, and we are combining both areas of expertise to create the items.”