Project Description

The Sanders Confectionary Headquarters was built in 1938 and opened in 1940.  It was located at 100 Oakman Boulevard, near the corner of Hamilton Avenue, in Highland Park, Michigan.  Highland Park is a suburb of Detroit, which is surrounded by Detroit, basically making it an extension of Detroit.  Highland Park has suffered from the exact same epidemics as Detroit; such as bankruptcy, corruption, and severe abandonment.

Sanders Confectionary was the home of the famous makers of Sanders Candy, Sanders Chocolates, and Sanders Goods, a Michigan brand with a 140-year-old legacy.  The Sanders Confectionary Headquarters was a massive 465,000-square-foot building, with administration offices up front and a large warehouse in the back.  Sanders Confectionary made an assortment of goodies and sweets at the Highland Park location; such as chocolates, butterscotch, nuts, molasses, and they even had a bakery.  In Sanders heyday, about 300 employees clocked in at the Highland Park plant.

Sanders Chocolates first opened in downtown Detroit by Fred Sanders in 1875.  At it’s peak, Sanders has grown to almost sixty stores in the Great Lakes Region and elsewhere.  Sanders retailers continue to sell candy, fudge toppings, and baked goods, as well as light lunches and an assortment of desserts at fountain counters, including Ice Cream Sodas, Sundaes, and Hot-Fudge Cream-Puffs.

In 1994, Sanders Confectionary left the headquarters and moved to a new building in the suburb of Clinton Township, Michigan.  Sanders sold their former headquarters to a company who warehoused automobile parts and other equipment.  In 2000, the building was sold to a recycling company.  The recycling company stored hundreds of pallets inside the warehouse, which would eventually be a major cause of a huge fire.  The recycling company eventually closed.

By 2009, the former Sanders Confectionary Headquarters was abandoned.  It would eventually become a target location for local scrappers to get huge loads of metal from the massive, mostly-metal warehouse.  Scrappers would eventually be the downfall of this one-time, iconic and historic location.

In 2012, scrappers were using a blow-torch to cut some I-beams out of the warehouse frame.  The blow-torch eventually caught one of the hundreds of pallets on fire and the fire quickly spread to the other pallets.  Within minutes, a large fire had ripped through the entire Sanders Confectionary Headquarters and gutted the whole building. The fire burned for more than twenty hours.  Witnesses described seeing black smoke for miles coming from the Highland Park location.  It was a sad day and another loss of a legendary Detroit building.

As of 2015, only part of the exterior façade and a few of the offices remain.