I’m just going to assume that Yash Raj Studios is a brand almost all of us love. You know, in the way where you see the logo and just smile. But what else? I’m curious! Let’s share stories!
This is a Midwestern chocolate company chain. As a child I just thought the words “fannie may” and “chocolate” were interchangeable. My mother used to take us to the little Fannie May storefront store if we were good when we went shopping at the nearby strip mall. She would get a pixie (nuts and caramel covered in chocolate) and we would get one candy of our choice. More importantly, my grandmother loooooooooooooooved Fannie May. Every holiday she would get a double layer Colonial Assortment box, and also random additional items (chocolate eggs for Easter and so on).
That’s all normal, right? Who wouldn’t like chocolates and chocolate shops? Where it gets maybe a bit over the top is that I have started collecting Fannie May branded items. We have a baseball cap, a canvas bag, and a cooler all with official Fannie May logos on them. All of them were one time special give aways if you spend $40 or more (I spent $200 because I needed extras. And anyway, chocolate freezes, so why not buy in bulk?). I want more though! I want a Fannie May store where I can buy t-shirts and hoodies and everything in the world. I want a convention where I can dress up as my favorite chocolate. I want an online message board where we can passionately argue the virtues of Trinidads versus Pixies (trinidads, obviously. Everyone knows they are the best). It is perhaps more brand loyalty than most people have to a candy company.
What inspired this post was me driving over to my Panera Bread cafe for coffee this morning. Through out lockdown, Panera has been my savior, they have a cafe about half a mile from my apartment and they did no charge delivery, so I could get fancy purchased coffee in the morning when I wanted it without needing to go out into the world. Made me very fond of them, and then I started thinking about how weirdly I was already very fond of them.
Panera Bread started as the “St. Louis Bread Company” and one of their first branches was near my grandmother’s house outside Saint Louis (other grandmother, not the Fannie May one). Then they were bought out by a company called “Panera” (originally a cookie/bakery company), and which switched completely to match the Saint Louis Bread Company concept of simple freshly made foods. They were one of the first businesses to offer free wi-fi, no log in code or anything fancy required. I spent my teen and college years tracking down Panera’s for the wi-fi, including driving 40 minutes from my family’s lake house so I could go check email while on vacation. The wi-fi sucked me in, but what sealed the deal was 3 years ago when I was having a truly horrible day, my apartment flooded the night before, I had to move in with my parents, I got on the wrong train on the way to work, and then I realized I had forgotten my wallet at home just as I was about to pay for my morning coffee and breakfast sandwich at Panera. And the manager took pity on me! Overheard me trying to hunt for cash in random pockets and came over and said “don’t charge her, it’s on us, have a good day”. So nice! And now it’s the pandemic, and the only restaurants I am going to are Paneras. So hey, good on the company! You give free wi-fi 2 years before everyone else, and one manager does something really nice, and now you have a devoted brand loyalist for life.
Anyway, what are your brands that you are illogically devoted to for reasons of nostalgia/family loyalt/one really great thing they did?