Lincoln Square’s Merz Apothecary has bought out New York-based KOBO Candle Company, moving the production facility from New York to Avondale, located at 2419 W. George St.
This is a massive accomplishment for Merz’s owners Anthony Qaiyum and his father, Abdul Qaiyum; the latter bought Merz Apothecary from Peter Merz in 1972. Five years later, the duo moved the storefront to its current storefront in Lincoln Square, 4716 N. Lincoln Ave. Now, the Merz family bought KOBO Candle Company from owners Louis Hotchkiss and Junko Kobori, who were looking to retire. The new acquisition will allow Merz Apothecary to make hand-poured soy candles in a new production facility starting this summer.
“The acquisition of KOBO Candles is a major step forward for us, our community, and for the goal of keeping manufacturing in our city,” Anthony Qaiyum tells Block Club Chicago. “And founders Louis Hotchkiss and Junko Kobori are smart, kind people. It is truly an honor to be carrying on their legacy.”
The new production facility, which is moving from Saratoga Springs, New York, to only two miles from Merz’s flagship store, will create five new jobs. Merz’s experience in e-commerce will allow the KOBO brand to expand beyond its current reach. Hotchkiss and Kobori, who launched the candle and luxury product store in 2006, wanted to sell to someone who knew and respected the brand’s values and could continue to grow it, according to Block Club Chicago.
“It feels appropriate KOBO will now travel to Chicago and find a new home at an international apothecary. And Louis and I will get back to exploring the globe,” Kobori said.