Sweetener Supply Corporation, which manufactures food ingredients including corn sweeteners, honey, white and brown sugar, molasses and others in its Brookfield factory at 9501 Southview Ave. has enlarged its footprint in the village.
On Feb. 4, Spy Glass Illinois LLC, which lists its address as 9501 Southview Ave., purchased a roughly 1.5-acre, pie-shaped parcel of land east of the factory along the south side of Southview Avenue between Morton and Raymond avenues.
The land includes four buildings, including at least one, a one-story red-brick building at 9347 Southview Ave. that appears to have been converted already into Sweetener Supply offices.
Spy Glass Illinois LLC bought the property for $700,000 from the previous owner, Jack Andersen, a Brookfield resident who operated the company Riverside Concrete Pumping out of the building at 9345 Southview Ave.
Andersen told the Landmark he bought the property from Boerman Moving and Storage 30 years ago and that it had been the site of a coal yard at one time. The red brick building that’s been converted into offices by Sweetener Supply was once the office for the coal yard, said Andersen.
“We found old coal receipts from years ago in that building,” Andersen said.
During Andersen’s ownership of the property, one longtime tenant was Ketchmark Landscaping and Brick Paving, which rented the cinderblock building at 9435 Southview Ave. for 22 years. That firm is owned by Kit Ketchmark, current village trustee and past village president. Ice Cream Planet was also a tenant of Andersen’s, leasing the building at the eastern end of the property.
By the time the property closed on Feb. 4, Ketchmark was the only remaining tenant. His company vacated the property March 1, having bought another property on 47th Street.
Ketchmark said Andersen had approached him last October, telling him about the possible sale of the land. But, Sweetener Supply has been interested in that property for much longer than that.
Andersen told the Landmark that Sweetener Supply had inquired about acquiring the land about six years ago, suggesting that Andersen could lease his building from them. Andersen wasn’t interested in doing that at the time, but he has since retired from the concrete business.
What the long-range plans are for the property aren’t clear. Sweetener Supply CEO Joe Gardella did not return a phone call from the Landmark seeking comment.
Andersen said he wasn’t sure exactly what the company wanted to do with the land, guessing that the company could not pass up the chance to acquire available property right next door to its factory.
“They probably couldn’t pass it up,” Andersen said. “You don’t find an empty lot next door to your property every day of the week.”
Ketchmark said that in informal conversations he had with someone from Sweetener Supply before moving out, he’d heard that the company wanted to convert the old concrete business into a maintenance garage and use Ketchmark’s building as an employee lounge. There was some talk about paving much of the lot, Ketchmark said.
It’s unclear any work has been done outside of the one office building. The company is using areas of the property to park vehicles.
The factory at 9501 Southview Ave., which sits on about five acres, has been pumping out sweetening products since 1959, when it was known as the Great Western Sugar Company, according to a 2006 article on the history of the business by the late Chris Stach.
In addition to its Brookfield headquarters, Sweetener Supply has manufacturing plants in Berwyn; Elkhorn, Wisconsin; and Reno, Nevada. The company’s new plant in Wolcott, Indiana, is expected to be fully operational in 2021.