From left, Elaine Kemna-Irish, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce; Dennis Diamantopoulos and Oscar Molina of Sammic; Fourth Ward Alderman Don Wilson; Neal Pearlman, director of U.S. sales for Sammic; Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl; Second Ward Alderman Peter Braithwaite; Takisha Keys of Sammic and Eden Juron Pearlman.      RoundTable photo

After two years of consistent and rapid growth Sammic Corporation, with worldwide headquarters in the Basque culinary capital of Spain, opened U.S. offices here. A ribbon-cutting on Dec. 12 marked the arrival in Evanston of the international manufacturer of high-end food-processing equipment. The company’s space – encompassing a warehouse, distribution center, showroom and training center – is located at 1225 Hartrey Ave., in the West End Business District.

Neal Pearlman, director of U.S. sales for Sammic, described some of the equipment the company manufactures, which is designed “to help restaurants develop their fresh-to-table” experience, he said. There are immersion blenders, soup-cookers, food-choppers, thermal blenders and sous-vide cookers. The machines can offer restaurateurs who do not wish to deal with bagged lettuces a way to dry up to 25 pounds of lettuce in two to three minutes or to peel 50 pounds of potatoes in three minutes, said Mr. Pearlman. Another machine will clean, sanitize and dry cutlery, replacing the time-consuming hand-drying process.

Albertson’s, the grocery store chain, uses Sammic’s produce-chopping machines, Mr. Pearlman said, adding he hopes Valli Produce, the grocery store coming to nearby Evanston Plaza, will use Sammic’s equipment as well.

The warehouse may receive shipments from Spain every month or so, Mr. Pearlman said, pointing to equipment stored along one of the walls. In addition to selling the equipment, Sammic helps with repairs as needed. The company has contacts nationwide with “top of the line companies” due to repair work, he said.

“We’re the Avis [of food-processing manufacturers]. We try harder and we’re making them take notice,” Mr. Pearlman said, naming the company’s competitors as Robot Coupe, Hobart and Waring.

He said, though, “We have been through immense growth in the past two years. We’re ready to triple what we’re doing now. We’re already looking at more office space and we hope to have not five but eight to ten employees in Evanston.”

In introducing City and Chamber of Commerce representatives to the company, Mr. Pearlman described the process of searching for a distribution point for Sammic: Edison, New Jersey; Charlotte, North Carolina; Indianapolis and Chicago were the contenders and the company “made the decision that Illinois was the place to go.”

Just before she cut the ribbon, Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl joked to Mr. Pearlman that he needed to brush up his spiel about how Sammic came to Evanston. He replied, “After an extensive nationwide search, we found this wonderful location in Evanston.”