It began in 1906, in a small kitchen in Campbell, Ohio.
The morning air was crisp, and Dora and Joseph Schwebel were working together to mix, knead and bake the family's famous bread. Known for its outstanding taste, unmatched freshness and superior quality, the bread was carefully baked each day, and delivered ? still warm from the oven ? in wicker laundry baskets to a growing number of customers residing in and around neighboring Youngstown, Ohio.
Building A Business On The Finest Bread
In just a few short years, the reputation of Schwebel's bread spread far and wide. The bakery's customer list continued to expand, and delivery operations now depended on horse and wagon ? instead of wicker baskets ? to deliver the oven-fresh bread.
In 1914, Dora and Joseph entered the world of retail sales by working out agreements with several local ?mom and pop? stores ? a move that opened up new and more profitable sales channels for their fledgling business. To ensure that fresh bread was in the stores when customers asked for it, the young couple added more bakers to assist the family, and even hired the company's first driver/salesperson to complement the horse and wagon.
The strong economy of the 1920's kept operations humming along, and more and more people experienced the taste and quality of Schwebel's bread. In 1923, the Schwebel's invested $25,000 and built a small bakery complete with a store front for retail business. At this time, the family could bake and deliver 1,000 loaves a day using six delivery trucks. The bakery was on the move and the future looked bright. Unfortunately, tragedy was just around the corner. In 1928, Joseph Schwebel died suddenly at the age of 46 ? leaving Dora with six children and the family's business to run by herself.
Challenges And Difficult Decisions
In 1928, many people believed the baking business was no place for a woman with young children. Dora Schwebel was told she should sell her bakery and stay home with her children, but she wouldn't hear of it. Instead, she stared down the naysayers and decided to carry on with the business she helped to build with her husband. Against all odds, Dora forged ahead to keep her family thriving.
The stock market crashed in the fall of 1929, less than a year after Joseph Schwebel's passing, and Dora and her young family found out just how difficult running a business could be.
Vowing to meet her obligations by working all day and all night if necessary, Dora skillfully negotiated a number of critical agreements that kept the business running in the face of national financial ruin. She built a new bakery in 1936 that doubled production and improved efficiency, and added to it in 1938 and again in 1941. And through it all, she found the time and financial resources to help the less fortunate.
By the late 1940's, demand for the company's products was growing by leaps and bounds as soldiers returned home from World War II and the baby boom began.
Riding The Wave Of Success In The Fifties And Sixties
In 1951, Dora and her children moved into their ?million-dollar bakery,? a brand-new, state-of-the-art facility on Youngstown's Midlothian Boulevard, outfitted with equipment and baking processes that would transform the Schwebel family's baking business.
The family, proud of the new bakery, and thankful to suppliers and local citizens who enthusiastically supported the big move, planned elaborate Grand Opening festivities. The Schwebel's invited the entire community to tour the modern bakery and celebrate with the family. The new bakery allowed the company to continue expanding product lines and distribution channels.
The 1960's marked the beginning of the third generation's active participation in the company. Their entry would add vitality, new ideas, and a quest for rapid growth and expansion outside of Youngstown. In 1967, the popularity of Schwebel's Golden Rich Bread led to a successful national licensing program throughout the country.
Extending The Reach Of Great Taste
By the end of the 1970's, the company had noticeably expanded its distribution network. In rapid fashion, Schwebel's had now become a key player in the Canton, Ohio, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Cleveland, Ohio markets. In addition, the company had undertaken a significant bakery expansion program that fully automated the bread and buns lines, doubling capacity.
Record growth characterized the 1980's and 1990's. As a result of several key acquisitions, Schwebel's had become a regional force in the baking industry. To complement this expansion the company added distribution facilities in Columbus, Ohio and Buffalo, New York. This period also heralded special baking agreements with Stouffer's, Pillsbury, and Walt Disney's Epcot Center.
Growing The Company Into The Future
For more than 100 years after its humble beginnings in a suburban Youngstown kitchen, Schwebel Baking Company continues to produce the breads people ask for by name. With more than 1,400 team members dedicated to maintaining the company's standards of quality, freshness, and honest hard work, the Schwebel family makes sure that customers get nothing short of great taste every time. Joseph and Dora wouldn't have it any other way.