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Yankee Candle Co. Sells Out, But the Flame Keeps Burning

By Olivia Leigh in News on Oct 27, 2006 4:55PM

Although our allegiances have turned to other candle brands in adulthood, when we were growing up, Yankee Candles were where it was at. A trip to the local flower and gift shop was not complete with a few peach votives, and our home perpetually smelled of pumpkin spice jar candles throughout the fall season.

With the sale announced yesterday, the New England-based manufacturer agreed to a $1.7 billion deal (yes, that’s billion with a “b”) with Chicago-based private equity firm, Dearborn Partners.

cherry.jpgCraig Rydin, Yankee's chairman and chief executive, said selling the company ''was in the best interest of our shareholders.'' The announcement sent the company’s stock price rocketing 17 percent, so we certainly imagine shareholders are happy, busting out the expensive candles for parties across the country.

Fortunately, unlike many other takeovers in the business world, Dearborn Partners claim that “there will be no change” to business as usual. They said they plan to keep the company’s 5,000 employees on the payroll, and plan to continue to operate the 400 retail stores in 42 states.

Mike Kittredge, who started making candles in his mother’s kitchen when he was too broke to afford a Christmas present for his mother, founded Yankee Candle Co. in 1969.

So all of you parents who are receiving macaroni necklaces and Play-Doh figurines as presents from your “creative” children, take note –– you may be witnessing the beginnings of the next entrepreneurial billionaire.