Imagine growing up in a chocolate dynasty. The stuff of every kid’s dreams. Rhonda Dehn is the third-generation owner of Morkes Chocolates in Palatine and Huntley, Illinois.
Her grandfather, William Morkes, opened his chocolate store on 26th Street and Trumbull in Chicago. He always was experimenting in his kitchen, and some credit him for inventing the caramel apple! His son, William, Jr. moved the business to Palatine in the 1960s, and in 1987, Rhonda, the youngest of seven children, became the company’s chocolate chief. Today, Morkes (pronounced “more kiss”) has two suburban Illinois locations and features delicacies such as hand-dipped chocolates, seasonal treats, caramel apples, donuts, and more.
“There wasn’t much out here when we moved in 1967. As the area became developed, construction workers would come in, and soon local employees and residents.”
When she took over the business from her elder brother, Rhonda sought to make changes that would maximize the space of the two stores and their earning potential. She remodeled, learned how to make “the best apple donuts you ever had,” and scrutinized finances. She launched new products and services—candy-making classes, holiday molds, and birthday parties—all geared to bolster traffic and sales. “We get some 16,000 kids through our stores each year!”
A creative who is equally shrewd with numbers, Rhonda was frustrated by her out-of-control real estate taxes. She fought her own appeals for years, but wasn’t convinced she was earning the reductions she deserved. Moreover, she dreaded wasting precious time on all the paperwork. She was referred to Arnie Siegel and has been with him and his firm ever since.
“I’m busy trying to run a business, so I appreciate that I never have to follow up with S&C. They are on top of this. They prompt me, give great advice, and never ever give up. It’s easy for me and they’ve saved me thousands and thousands of dollars over the years.”