The acquisition of Kobo will also bring Merz into the world of manufacturing, as the candle company also creates label products for major retail brands. Operations will take place in the North Branch Industrial Corridor, two miles from their flagship location.
Anthony Qaiyum, Chairman of Merz, said the acquisition will pave the way for future growth in private label and manufacturing opportunities.
Merz and Kobo are family businesses with international roots. Kobo was started by Japanese-born Junko Kobori, and says she started the business as an ode to the places she traveled with her husband.
“I’ve always been struck by the smell of each place and its absence as we tried to tell our adventures with photographs and stories,” Kobori said. “From this concept, the transformative power of fragrance, Kobo was born.”
The company‘s move to Chicago is appropriate, she said, because she and her husband, Louis, wanted to leave the company with a team of people who knew its value when they retired.
Merz has been cited as a Mecca for those who want unique, natural and luxury products. The addition of the candle company is a hallmark for Merz as it continues its legacy as a family-centric, quality-driven company.
“Kobo makes flawless products. It starts with the unbeatable scent and burn of their hand-poured soy candles. I have been in this business for over 50 years and Kobo candles are simply some of the best we have sold in the store,” said Merz President Abdul Qaiyum.
Merz says he plans to grow Kobo quickly and create more jobs and opportunities within the company. In August, five new jobs will be created to support the new operations.