May 12, 2016
For some reason we've got a craving for baked goods this week, therefore today's Epstein Throwback Thursday takes us back to October, 1961 for the opening of Hillman's Bakery, located at 3853 W. 43rd Street in Chicago. This Epstein designed and engineered one-story, 70,000 square foot food production facility was constructed for $1.5M ($12M in 2016) and included a candy kitchen, a nut roasting operation, and a prepared foods kitchen, along with a bakery that produced cakes, doughnuts and other delicious pastries.
This building was designed to centralize the production of Hillman's baked goods in one plant, which prior to this facility going on line, were spread out over three Chicago locations. In addition, this plant would allow Hillman's to improve its production and meet their client's demands for baked goods and prepared foods. This plant also provided Hillman's with better quality control, a more uniformed finished product as well as a freezer operation to meet the booming desire for frozen pastries.
In the early 60's Hillman's operated 14 supermarkets throughout Chicago and suburbs. The stores were known for their brightly lit and colorful interiors, a few of which were designed by Epstein as well. As a little added Throwback Thursday bonus, here are few shots of one of these Epstein designed Hillman's stores, this one, located at the corner of Harlem and North Avenue, was completed in the early 50s.
Alas, like most regional grocery stores, Hillman's is no longer around after losing its battle against the large mega-chains.
As for the Hillman's Bakery building itself? Well it still stands and is now home to The Marvel Group, Inc., manufacturers of office and computer room furniture, business work stations, ergonomic seating, and file storage systems.