Title: Enjoy an evening of sweet butter cream memories
Author: Diana Wing
Publisher: Hometown Life
When I was a kid, the best treats in my Easter basket were the purple-foil-wrapped Sanders chocolate bunnies. And despite the caloric hazard of getting hooked on hot fudge, my family will sometimes forego cake and celebrate a birthday with Sanders cream puffs drenched in gooey goodness.
Greg Tasker, author of Sanders Confectionery has his own memories of stopping with his parents at Sanders shops in the Oakland Mall and in Troy where he grew up. When he moved to the East Coast his folks would bring him gifts of Sanders sweet stuff, so Tasker was surprised when he returned to the metro area in 2002 to find the Sanders stores had disappeared. Two years later Tasker wrote a story for the Detroit Free Press about a new Sanders shop opening at Laurel Park Place Mall in Livonia.
“I was watching people at the store. As soon as they would walk by, their whole face would light up and they would come in and start sharing memories with the clerk,” he said. “There were old photos of Fred Sanders and his old store on the wall. I had no idea this company had this long, rich history. It just piqued my interest.”
Sanders Confectionery is part of Arcadia Publishing's “Images of America” series, books that tell the story of communities, industry and more, mainly through historic images. Tasker had to dig hard to find photos, records and people who could remember the early history of Sanders. Founder, German native Fred Sanders, moved to Chicago to work in the confectionery business.
“It was about the time of the Chicago fire and he was either working for somebody or had his own shop and he was burned out of business,” Tasker said. “When he opened the store in Detroit (1875) he spent all his money opening up and he had to borrow sugar from another businessman in town to make his candy.”
Tasker is making a return visit to the Royal Oak Public Library, 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 20, to give a presentation about the history of Sanders and to sign copies of his book. There was a large turnout last March people who enjoyed reminiscing and snacking on “bumpy” cake.
“I think a lot of the Detroit brands are just beloved by people here, and Sanders is one of them. A lot of the (audience) were (former) employees and people who were older and they had such fond memories of the company,” Tasker said. “I've been a journalist for a long time and this is probably one of the few things I've done where nobody had a bad word to say about Sanders. Everybody just loved the product.”
To register for the Sanders program, call the library at (248) 246-3727.