It coulda been called “Schmidt's Chocolates”, but Frederick Sanders Schmidt lopped off his last name and his confectionary company would forever be known as “Sanders”.

According to the Detroit Historical Society, Fred moved to Detroit from Chicago after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 ruined his candy shop. He opened a new sweet shop at the corner of Woodward and Gratiot in the summer of 1875. Selling simply candy, his shop became so successful, he added bakery items, ice cream, pop, and sodas. His sodas were made with flavored syrup, carbonated soda water, and sweet cream. One afternoon in 1875, his shop ran out of sweet cream and he needed a substitute to fill the customers’ demands for a soda. So he used ice cream to replace the sweet cream, and the ice cream soda was born! At least it was, according to Fred. More than likely, it was not the very first in the country, but Fred did introduce it to Detroit.

Detroit loved it. In 1891, Fred opened his “Pavilion of Sweets” at Michigan and Woodward Avenues in 1891. After a name change to the “Palace of Sweets,” he moved to a former Hudson store in 1896 and stayed operating until the 1980s.

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Fred passed away on January 5, 1913 at the age of 64 and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Detroit.

Sanders was the first food company to have carryout service and used dry ice for food preservation. The shops were also the first ones to stay open on Sundays...but with opposition and grumblings from those who felt it was sacrilegious to be open on Sunday, Fred once again closed on those days.

With all the other products he had, his chocolates were still the most popular mainstay. A string of Sanders candy shops could be found in almost any Michigan shopping mall and soon his chocolates were on grocery store shelves.

The 70s and 80s brought about the decline of Sanders, but the company wasn't down and out...they were purchased and are now owned by Morley Candy Company. To this day, Sanders shops still exist in shopping centers and malls.

Sanders Chocolates

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