Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Terry's Toffee: A sweet sensation for many, including stars
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times
2014-02-11

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

      More Photos


Terry Opalek spent about 20 years working in the non-profit industry, doing membership development—and thought he'd stay in that field for the rest of his life.

[Photo gallery at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/photospreadthumbs.php .]

But then, through an inner urging, as he described, he took a class, The Artist's Way, based on the book of the same name by Julia Cameron. It was a 12-week course at a Unity Church in Chicago, "that reconnecting with your creative power, your creative energy," he said.

Opalek kept a journal, updating it every morning with constant thoughts.

"After months, it was clear in my [journal] writing that I should leave my job," he said.

Opalek thought leaving his job was crazy, he now admits.

Ultimately, he did quit, "and I had no idea what I was going to do. I didn't quit to take another job, or make toffee," he said. "I started doing creative thinking, such as writing and painting."

Nine months later, during the Christmas holiday season, Opalek sold his toffee, based on a family recipe.

"It took off like crazy; people absolutely loved it," Opalek said.

And so was born, Terry's Toffee, now 11 years old.

"There's no way I ever envisioned this. Toffee was never even on my radar," Opalek said. "In so many ways, I now feel my life is fuller, richer … and I just feel like I'm really living my life doing what I'm doing.

"What's more rewarding to me is, the connection. And the toffee is the vehicle."

Opalek, the company president, and his life partner, Michael Frontier, who is the vice president, run the Chicago-based entity. The toffee is an award-winning sweet that has earned the "extraordinary" ranking from Zagat.

Terry's Toffee has been a treat for such stars as the queen of England, the Obama family, Bill and Hillary Clinton, the former shah of Iran's wife, Maria Shriver, Samuel L. Jackson and countless other celebrities. The toffee has been given away to celebrities at the Academy Awards show for 10 years.

In a contrasting setting, Terry's Toffee also is given to patients in hospice.

"It is so humbling and touching to me, how far we've come," said Opalek, 57, who lives in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood.

"Michael and I feel very strongly about giving back, and we give back to hundreds of organizations—charities that help rescue dogs, to charities that help the homeless, breast cancer [charities], the AIDS Foundation of Chicago ( AFC ) and more."

In fact, Terry's Toffee has been a participant for about the past seven years in AFC's annual World of Chocolate fundraiser—and was the People's Choice award-winner at the 2013 event.

And about a week after claiming the AFC honor, Terry's Toffee won an award for its packaging from the North American Paperboard Packaging Competition.

Plus, 2013 was the company's best financial year.

"As I always tell my staff, 'I don't care if a person is buying one piece of toffee, or 1,000 boxes of toffee, everyone is to be treated with graciousness, rightfulness,'" Opalek said.

The company produces about 1,200 pounds of toffee each and every week—"a far cry from when we were making it, one pound at a time, on my stove," Opalek said.

There are 17 flavors of gourmet toffee, plus toffee-covered popcorn "that has taken off like crazy," he said.

Terry's also offers toffee-topped biscottis as well as six different flavors of toffee-infused ice cream.

The top-selling flavor of toffee is McCall's Classic, named after his grandmother, blended with California almonds, coated in milk chocolate and dusted with Georgia pecans.

"Everything came full-circle about a years ago," Opalek said. "I met the daughter of Julia Cameron, who came into our store, introduced herself, said she was getting married, and wanted Terry's Toffee as a wedding flavor—including for her [celebrity] parents."

She knew, through the company's website, that her mom's book was one of Opalek's favorite things. He told her: "Your mom's book isn't just one of my favorite things; it's the reason Terry's Toffee is here today."

Her eyes welled up.

His did, too.

"That was just really, really cool," he said.

Opalek and Frontier, who have been partners for about 24 years, are planning to get married this year.

Although Terry's Toffee is now available at 80 stores across the United States, the lone Terry's Toffee store, 1117 W. Grand Ave. For more information, call 312-733-2700.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

DISH: SAVOR Nick's Pizza & Pub 2017-12-18 - If you want to know how cozy the newest Nick's Pizza & Pub ( 2434 W. Montrose Ave.; NicksPizzaPub.com/chicago-pizza-pub/ ) is, look no ...


Gay News

Dining news: Jinglefest, Entente team, new restaurants 2017-12-12 - —Chicago French Market's Jinglefest will take place Saturday, Dec. 16, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. There will be holiday-cookie decorating ( courtesy of Vanille Patisserie ...


Gay News

DISH: SAVOR 20 East 2017-12-11 - It seems that a lot of hotels are undergoing renovations. Last week, I discussed the Ritz-Carlton's makeover as well as the highs ...


Gay News

SAVOR Torali; Wood brunch 2017-12-06 - The Ritz-Carlton has undergone a radical change. Walking around the 12th floor of the hotel, the renovations are striking—for example, the opulent fountain ...


Gay News

Five Worth Finding: Holiday edition 2017-12-05 - —Canada Goose ( CanadaGoose.com ): Now open at the Park Hyatt, 800 N. Michigan Ave., Canada Goose brings its well-known parkas to a ...


Gay News

Dining news: South Water closing, "Worms in Dirt," Berkshire Room 2017-12-05 - —After dinner service on Thursday, Dec. 14, South Water Kitchen ( 225 N. Wabash Ave. ) will close its doors for good—but not ...


Gay News

Tito's holiday recipes 2017-11-29 - Tito's Hot Chocolate INGREDIENTS: 1.5 oz Tito's Handmade Vodka 4 oz hot chocolate 0.25 oz dark créme de menthe ( optional ...


Gay News

Dining news: Cocoa + Co., Filini's cocktails, Primehouse closing 2017-11-28 - —Cocoa + Co., 1651 N. Wells St., has a new cafe menu in partnership with Naha Pastry Chef Craig Harzewski. The Old Town ...


Gay News

DISH: SAVOR Steadfast; Nonnina 2017-11-27 - Located in the Kimpton Gray Hotel, Steadfast ( 120 W. Monroe St.; https://www.steadfastchicago.com/ )—Fifty/50 Restaurant Group's contemporary American-style dining concept in the Loop—exudes ...


Gay News

Dining news: Retro malt shop, 'Fried Chicken' recap, Thanksgiving options 2017-11-21 - —Retro-inspired malt shop Fizz Eatery & Soda Fountain, 7958 W. Belmont Ave., is featuring a brand-new throwback burger each week. Named in homage ...


 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.