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
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
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
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
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.