|Greg Guidotti at Ferrara headquarters in the Old Post Office.|
For all the decades I’ve been driving through the Old Post Office, particularly during the five years I lived in Oak Park, I’d never actually been inside the sprawling deco complex, not beyond a quick 30-second dash into the lobby to mail my taxes.
That changed Friday, and I found myself sitting in the sixth floor funhouse splendor of the Ferrara Candy Company headquarters. That itself is an amazing development. There is no way I could ever get inside, say, Wrigley headquarters. Not through any imaginable process that didn’t involve me swimming ashore at Goose Island, shedding my wetsuit, scaling a wall, knocking out a guard, then shimmying through the ventilation system.
But Ferrara invited me. And as soon as I settled in a conference room, I could see why. They’ve invented a new type of candy.
“The hot product right now is Nerds Gummy Clusters,” said Greg Guidotti, chief marketing officer at Ferrara, standing before a conference table piled with bags of candy. “You can open it. Give it a look, and try it.”
He didn’t have to ask twice. I tore open a small bag, suppressed my first thought — “They kinda look like candy coronavirus spheres” — as indecorous, and popped one in my mouth.
“Essentially it’s classic Nerds wrapped around a gummy deposit,” said Guidotti.
I wish I could buy bags of Guidotti’s enthusiasm — a seasoned marketing pro, who spent time at Kraft and sold Duracell in Asia — to munch throughout the day. Or better yet, send packages to the PR sorts that I generally have to try to wheedle information from, who narrow their gaze and worry, in a chill voice that sounds like it’s coming from the woman in “American Gothic” — “You want more information about our product? Why would you want that?” It’s such an unexpected joy, to meet somebody who is actually good at what he does.
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