Bob Dold knows something about small businesses — family-owned small businesses at that. As president of Rose Pest Solutions, the oldest pest management company in the United States, Dold has first-hand knowledge of the challenges and opportunities entrepreneurs face.

That said, Illinois’ 10th District Congressman isn’t as familiar with the intricacies of making chocolate and other confections. On Monday, Feb. 8, Dold looked to change that by visiting Long Grove Confectionery in Buffalo Grove, Ill.

Owner Craig Leva, with the help of the National Confectioners Association, had invited the congressman for a personal tour and subsequent get-together with plant employees, guests and constituents at the company’s theatre room.

The personally guided tour — which included Leva, Chris Perkins, the company’s director of sales, and Dwayne Hallan, director of operations/production — took Dold to the organic panning room, where the congressman saw the art of chocolate panning up close.

Leva also took him to the kitchen to view toffee and brittle production. And Dold also saw two enrobing lines, one of which was drenching Oreo cookies in white chocolate and the other coating sliced bananas in dark chocolate.  In addition, he had the opportunity to take in seasonal production of white non-pareils coated in green sugar flakes for St. Patrick’s Day. 

Following the plant tour, Dold addressed the group in attendance by asking whether anyone thought Congress was doing its job. The silent response prompted Dold to highlight several accomplishments that occurred in 2015, including legislation affecting transportation, Medicare reforms affecting seniors, and a budget compromise.

In response to questions affecting confectionery companies, such as GMO labeling and sugar reform, Dold indicated that as long as GMOs were deemed safe by the FDA, it would be in the best interests to have a uniform labeling policy as opposed to state-by-state regulations.

When asked what it would take to enact sugar reform, Dold responded by saying that more public pressure was necessary to counter Big Sugar lobbying interests. The moderate Republican also delved into other issues, addressing national security, heroin addiction amongst youth, improving economic growth and Republican presidential candidates.

The visit appropriately ended with Leva handing Dold a Long Grove Confectionery bag stuffed with a range of products produced at the plant as well as Arway Confections, a sister company based in Chicago.