“This black-and-white photo is of Gertrude Anderson, the wife of our founder Arthur Anderson. She is holding her son Raynold, who is my grandfather. They are standing in front of our first store in downtown Chicago circa 1920.
“Gertrude and Arthur piloted the store through the Great Depression and World War II, and we have always drawn inspiration from them in the past during uncertain times like 9/11 and the Great Recession.
“Every day at work I hold my breath until 2:30 when the governor goes on to [say] what’s going to happen next.
“This is different from the Great Recession and looks like it could be worse for us in many ways. During the recession, we had several months to adjust to the downturn. We could estimate the loss of sales and adjust scheduling, production and supplies down so that we weren’t sitting on too much product and so that we weren’t over staffed. This has been so sudden, it is threatening our business in a much different way. And at this time of year we have already ‘spent’ our money, making product for sale that we now may not be able to recoup.
“Easter is our second-biggest time of the year – it’s our chance to be in the black. Easter money gets us through until the winter holidays start up in November. If we don’t make that money now, I don’t know what’s going to happen.
“It takes us 8-10 weeks to make the Easter candy. We have production schedules and targets to meet. But now we are in uncharted territory. Do I make 18,000 marshmallow eggs, or 800?
“Like many restaurants we are also in food production. When you’re in food production and manufacturing, you order larger quantities of supplies at a time – sugar, butter, flavorings. I’m sitting on a lot of raw ingredients and I don’t know if I can use them.
“It’s very scary.
“We also have to consider things like … is it worth it being open to capture the couple hundred dollars we would in a day? What is the balance point? We have to conserve funds. We don’t want to have to slash hours but if I don’t have the business, I won’t be able to employ my staff. My sales today were 60% below what they were this day last year. Now that the governor has issued a stay-at-home order, I would imagine sales will drop even farther.”
Fourth-generation candymaker and manager of Anderson’s Candy Shop