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Joe Schwebel: A champion in action -- from Baking Business

See the original article here: Baking Business

by Laurie Gorton

If Joe Schwebel had done nothing more than manage the growth of Schwebel Baking Co., Youngstown, OH, from a $2 million business in 1960 to today's $150 million annual revenues, his career would certainly be described as notable. But he did far more, extending his influence way beyond the family bakery to benefit the entire industry.

For his industry and community leadership, as well as his company's continuing success, he will be inducted into the Baking Hall of Fame at the 2017 annual meeting of the American Society of Baking (ASB).

Mr. Schwebel believed in action-based solutions. For example, when the low-carb craze nearly broke the back of the commercial baking industry, he helped establish and fund the Grain Foods Foundation (GFF) in 2004. He was a long-time member of the American Bakers Association (ABA), serving on its board of directors and committees. He also sat on the boards of AIB International and Quality Bakers of America. He strongly supported ASB and mentored many on his staff to serve as speakers, two as chairman of the society and as leaders in the industry.

"He was a longtime advocate for the wholesale baking industry," said Joe's son Lee Schwebel, vice-president of marketing for the bakery, "a champion of all the industry's causes, as well as a driving motivational force to make sure goals were attained and missions fulfilled to help wholesale baking grow and prosper."

Although Joe Schwebel graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School with a thesis about problem solving, Lee Schwebel recalled that his father often said, "You don't learn a bakery business out of a book. It's what we call a 'street business.' All the action, in stores, with customers, in restaurants, that's where you learn."

Joe Schwebel was schooled in baking from the day he was born. He combined his education in business management techniques with baking's daily disciplines by riding bread routes and working directly with customers and shoppers. After college, he started as the company's restaurant and institutional sales manager. He rose to vice-president of sales in 1981 and became president in 1984, leading the company for more than 25 years until his death in 2012. He turned Schwebel Baking into a regional power and served his community and industry to their betterment.

"Joe Schwebel exemplifies the qualities of a great leader — integrity, honesty, innovation, good sound judgment, great communicator and the ability to inspire others," said George Deese, Baking Hall of Fame member and non-executive chairman of Flowers Foods, Thomasville, GA.

Joe Schwebel's influence reached beyond the bakery's Midwest markets. Patrick Callaghan, Baking Hall of Fame member, retired president of Pepperidge Farm, Norwalk, CT, and co-founder of GFF, recalled his leadership style.

"When he weighed in on key strategic and topical issues, it became obvious that when Joe talked, everyone listened," Mr. Callaghan said. "He often provided insight few others had thought about. He always closed his remarks with action-based solutions that more often than not became the industry-accepted course of action."

His quiet, unassuming leadership style belied an incredibly sharp business acumen, according to ABA President and CEO Robb MacKie, who first encountered Mr. Schwebel as part of multi-employer labor negotiations. "It was fascinating to watch as the much larger national baking company representatives deferred to his judgment," Mr. MacKie said. "The trust in his integrity, his principals and his word was never more clearly on display."

Mr. Schwebel had a deep trust in people, especially the bakery's staff. John Phillips, 1997 ASB chairman, a former Schwebel Baking plant manager and now Great Lakes regional sales manager for Red Star Yeast, said, "Very few people in Joe's position could foster a feeling of ownership and entrepreneurship in the people who reported to him or other executive managers."

"At the time of his death, my father had helped his family's baking business reach new and unimagined heights, building a legacy of his own, filled with traditions and practices that continue to sustain and enliven Schwebel Baking Co.," Lee Schwebel said.

Legends of the Industry -- from Baking Business

See the original article here:Baking Business

by Dan Malovany

Joe Schwebel loved to tell the story about when he returned to the family bakery in 1960 as a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and asked his grandmother, Dora Schwebel, where his office was. 

Mrs. Schwebel, whose husband passed away in 1928, raised six children on her own and helped feed the people of Youngstown, OH, during the Great Depression. She had a no-nonsense approach to life and told Joe the company had done just fine over the years without him. She suggested he start day two on the job at 4:30 a.m. on board route No. 1, followed by route No. 2 the day after and every one of the bakery’s 39 routes in the days following. Then she said they could talk about his future. 

For 52 years, Joe worked in the family baking business, the last 28 as president. Lee Schwebel, vice-president of marketing, described his dad as a best friend and a “breadman’s breadman.” 

Paul Schwebel, now president, called his older brother a natural leader. “He would sit and listen to a lot of ideas, and at the end, he had the ability to bring all of them together and move forward with a plan,” Paul said. 

Paul and Joe were opposite in business roles yet totally complementary in results. Joe loved sales and marketing. Paul oversaw administration and manufacturing. For 44 years, the brothers shared major business decisions. Those roles, responsibilities and relationships continue with other family members in the business. 

Joe was an active leader in the baking industry as well as with the local community. He was instrumental in establishing the Grain Foods Foundation. His humble and effective leadership earned him respect. When Joe talked, people listened. The day he passed away the industry lost a unique and important voice. 

In 2009, Dora Schwebel, Joe’s grandmother, was inducted into the Baking Hall of Fame. Her incredible life journey and the Schwebels’ success story can be found on  or on the American Society of Baking’s website, . 

In the December issue of  Baking & Snack , we recognize Michael Elenz, Schwebel’s vice-president, manufacturing, as our 2012 Operations Executive of the Year, for his dedication to the industry. Like many past recipients of this award, Mr. Elenz credits his team, his mentors and his service in the military for what he has accomplished. And he thanks the Schwebels for treating him like part of the family. 

Lee mentioned that true legends live on forever. I could see that part of Joe lives on in Paul, Lee and other members of the Schwebel family and in people like Mr. Elenz who worked with him over the years. 

Men like Joe Schwebel are a breed apart, and as his brother aptly noted, he will be missed by everyone who knew him. 

Steeped in Tradition -- from Baking & Snack Magazine

View the original Baking & Snack article here: Steeped in Tradition

Steeped in Tradition Founded 106 years ago, Schwebel Baking continues to set the standard when it comes to baking quality bread, buns and rolls.

by Dan Malovany

Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well, and at Schwebel Baking Co., consistently achieving the highest level of quality often comes from experience. Take the workforce at its Youngstown, OH, bakery. Getting on the day shift at the flagship facility often requires decades of experience on the production line, according to Michael Elenz, vice-president of manufacturing.

As he walks through the plant, he routinely points out how long many of his veteran bakers have worked for the company. A mixer operator on the bun line needs 22 years to hold that prime position. A tenured member of the packaging department put in 26 years in various jobs. “A lot of people who start working at Schwebel’s end up working here their whole careers,” Mr. Elenz said.

Such experience anchors the tradition of excellence that is rooted in the company’s storied history, which dates back to 1906 when it was founded by Joseph and Dora Schwebel. The legacy today lives on in the third and fourth generation of family members who work at the company, but nearly everywhere, there are reminders of the past.

Strolling through the Youngtown headquarters, visitors step back in time. The halls are decorated with photos and memorabilia of the company and its ongoing efforts to build its brand name. It could be a photo of Eleanor Roosevelt with Dora, who was inducted into the Baking Hall of Fame in 2009. Promotional pieces show Happy the Clown, who made his debut in the 1930s to boost morale during the Great Depression. A classic sign captures one of the bakery’s most memorable advertising campaigns: “If it’s not Schwebel’s, don’t eat it.”

Lee Schwebel, vice-president of marketing and de facto curator of the company’s history, noted that less than 5% of all family-owned businesses survive to the fourth generation. “The constant is the bloodline,” he said.

But Lee stressed the story isn’t only about the generations that have been active in the family bakery. “It’s about the entire team and all of the people,” he explained.

True to tradition

Throughout the decades, Schwebel Baking has kept to its core competency and still focuses on what it does best, according to Paul Schwebel, the company’s president. “We’re a bread and bun bakery. That’s it,” he said. “We don’t produce any sweets. It’s strictly bread and rolls.”

White bread is still the top seller among the hundreds of products it makes, including wheat, 100% whole wheat, Italian, soft rye and multigrain breads. The bakery also produces breakfast breads as well as hearth-baked breads and rolls, and it distributes bagels, English muffins, pitas and tortillas. The products are sold not only under the Schwebel’s brand, but also under national franchise brands such as Cinnabon, Country Hearth, ’taliano, Roman Meal, Milton’s and Sun-Maid.

“Rye bread is our signature product,” Paul said. “That product dates back 106 years.” The formula hasn’t changed since Paul’s grandfather learned how to bake it in Europe and began baking 40 loaves a day when the family bakery started. In fact, the bakery still produces a 5-lb version of its rye bread for select customers, although the most popular variety remains the 2-lb loaf. “We still make an awful lot of rye bread. There are people from all over the country who will call us and order it, and we’ll mail it to them,” he observed.

The company operates about 30 depots and services the retail and food service channels throughout most of Ohio, western Pennsylvania, western New York and northern West Virginia. In Ohio, it’s the market leader in Cleveland, Columbus, Akron/Canton and Youngstown, as well as in Pittsburgh and Erie, PA.

To supply these markets, Schwebel’s operates four bakeries in Ohio — Youngstown, Cuyahoga Falls, Solon and Hebron — which together produce more than 700,000 packages of baked goods a day. Outside of the Youngstown plant, the company acquired the other facilities as it expanded geographically during the 1980s and 1990s.

All of its bakeries produce hamburger and hot dog buns, and most make white bread. “We exchange products based on shipping needs,” Paul said. The company relies on an intricate system of cross-docking to supply its markets with a full line of bread, buns and rolls.

Award-winning quality

In some competitive product categories such as white bread, Schwebel Baking has found a way to differentiate its products from the rest, Mr. Elenz noted. “In production, we always run the white bread last because we want to be the freshest in the market,” he said.

Seven years ago, the company joined The Long Co., a bakery cooperative based in Chicago, IL, and in competition with dozens of other bakeries, received the co-op’s best bun award six times. In fact, Mr. Elenz said, the cooperative retired one trophy after one of its bakeries received the best bun award three years in a row.

“All four of my bakeries are competing against one another, along with everybody else in the co-op,” he noted. “I’m fine as long as it’s a Schwebel trophy.”

To monitor product quality, every bakery gets evaluated daily with product sent by line operators, not supervisors, to the Schwebel Baking headquarters for scoring. Friendly competition among its bakeries — and even among shifts within each facility — extends into other areas. The company tracks waste, lost time and efficiency, just to name a few. “At the end of the year, we recognize the winners of the program,” Mr. Elenz said.

In conjunction with its quality assurance efforts, Paul added, the bakeries are ramping up their food safety programs — everything from traceability and lot tracking to establishing a product recall program as they prepare for certification by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) as a part of the Global Food Safety Initiative sometime next year.

Schwebel’s QA and BRC processes are are part of its overall continuous improvement strategy. “If you’re going to survive, you need to reinvest in your business constantly,” Paul said. “You can’t skip a year of not buying trucks or bakery equipment — be it mixers or dividers. There are technological advantages that you have to take advantage of and ordinary wear-outs.”

The insides of the ovens installed in the 1970s and 1980s have been replaced, and new controls now monitor baking times and temperatures. With such controls, the bakeries can monitor their operations in real time and reduce downtime and waste. “Everything today uses PLCs,” Paul said. “The control that you get from them is just totally phenomenal. Any time we have an opportunity to update a control panel or replace it, we do it.”

Tradition at work

The 125,000-sq-ft Youngstown bakery houses a bread line, a bun line and a hearth line that produce a full spectrum of baked goods for the bread aisle. Typically, production runs nearly six days a week with the bakery shut down on Monday and Friday afternoons and evenings for sanitation and maintenance.

Three 100,000-lb Pfening silos hold patent flour, while a fourth silo supplies rye flour to the bread and hearth lines. The silos are enclosed to minimize noise and dust and provide safety. Flour is pneumatically transferred to various use bins throughout the bakery, then blown to the scales on the mixers for the various lines. All minor and micro ingredients are scaled in a central area for lot tracking and traceability. The centralized scaling department also helps the bakery control allergens and ensures accuracy.

Line supervisors have windowed offices scattered throughout the bakery so that they can monitor the areas where they have key responsibilities. “They can observe the makeup area, for instance, while they are doing their paperwork,” Mr. Elenz said.

Overall, the bakery uses six horizontal mixers for the three production lines. Two Shaffer 2,000-lb horizontal mixers, for example, feed the sponge-and-dough bread line. Sponges typically rest in the fermentation room for about 3.5 hours to produce Schwebel’s premium white bread. An AMF divider can produce up to 140, 1.5-lb loaves a minute. Dough pieces travel through a conical rounder and two cross-moulders before dropping into 5-strap pans.

After traveling through an APV (now Baker Thermal Solutions) Templex proofer, the loaves bake in a single-lap oven. Depanned breads travel up SpanTech conveyors to a Stewart Systems overhead cooler that is more than a mile long, Mr. Elenz noted.

The bread line has four Bettendorf Stanford band slicers — one serves as a backup — with Burford closure systems. AMF pattern formers position the loaves that are trayed, stacked and rolled into the warehouse for distribution, which starts before the break of dawn.

Meanwhile, the combination hearth line uses two horizontal mixers, including one for hearth rolls and one for producing Schwebel’s classic rye bread with a traditional, 36-hour ferment. “We take no shortcuts here,” Mr. Elenz noted. The dough travels from a dough chunker up an inclined belt conveyor to a versatile Gemini hearth line outfitted with a Werner & Pfleiderer 8-pocket divider, makeup line and intermediate proofer for rolls.

Hearth items typically are placed on peel boards, racked and rolled into a walk-in proof box and baked in a Readco steel-plated oven. The freshly baked breads and rolls travel on two spiral coolers, with the exception of its 5-lb rye bread that’s cooled on racks. All other products pass through an AMF slicer and bagger and a Burford twist tyer.

For bun production, the bakery relies on a liquid ferment system that feeds a Shaffer 1,600-lb horizontal mixer. Twin AMF piston dividers crank out 800 pieces a minute. After passing through rounding bars and receiving flour dusting and an intermediate proof, the dough pieces are panned and travel to another Templex proofer and bake in a Baker Perkins single-lap oven. After traveling on a Stewart spiral cooler, the buns enter laners, indexers and slicers and baggers.

To ensure product freshness, most of the company’s breads and buns are distributed to retailers within a 200-mile radius of each bakery, according to Paul. Quality and consistency, he added, are the fundamentals to success that have been a Schwebel Baking tradition over the years.

“Our plan is to continue to grow and prosper,” he said. “There are six family members in the business — three in the third generation and three in the fourth generation. So we have the next generation in place, and they’re learning about the family business and performing well.”

Such stability, he said, will keep the bakery on the right track in the future.

No More Wasted Opportunities -- from Baking & Snack Magazine

See the original article here: Baking & Snack Magazine

No More Wasted Opportunities Here are some of the easiest ways to eliminate waste, become greener and lower overhead in the long run.

by Dan Malovany

With 2013 right around the corner, it’s the perfect time for bakeries and snack producers to make a New Year’s resolution to develop a concrete plan to outline sustainability initiatives that seize the low-hanging fruit — if they haven’t done so already — and lower long-term operating costs.

In some cases, replacing existing lighting with energy-efficient fluorescent fixtures should be a no-brainer, especially when the return on investment (ROI) is less than two years, according Scott Houtz, president of Air Management Technologies, Lewisburg, PA. In addition to cost savings, he noted, new lighting systems can be designed to eliminate poorly or overly lit areas to provide additional operation, sanitation and product quality benefits.

To minimize mold, provide food safety and improve working conditions, many operations rely on positive atmospheric pressure in their facilities. However, Mr. Houtz said, industrial ventilation systems can be “energy hogs,” especially if they’re not properly designed. “Too many times, systems have been pieced together over the years with an exhaust fan here and a fan there without looking at the big picture — creating an environment that, many times, doesn’t meet objectives and wastes energy,” he explained.

Perhaps the best way to get the process rolling is to conduct an energy audit that can help plants identify myriad ways to save money, said Darryl Wernimont, director of marketing, POWER Engineers, Hailey, ID.

Such audits map existing energy distribution and help determine how to use it more efficiently. The process routinely combines the power of PLCs, custom software and wireless instrumentation to create a baseline for monitoring energy use. That baseline, Mr. Wernimont noted, allows companies to isolate specific opportunities for controlling costs. “With this knowledge in hand, a facility can take actions to achieve measurable sustainability,” he said.

Become a Star player

Initially, the most difficult challenge in launching a sustainability program may involve understanding that the actual payback for many initiatives is ongoing, as processes evolve and employee behavior becomes ingrained in a company’s culture.

“The gains through improved sustainability can be enormous, and many practices are easier to implement than most imagine,” said Stacey Sharpless, president of the Biscuit & Cracker Manufacturers’ Association (BCMA). “Often companies can save a great deal of money on their energy bill by making some basic changes to their maintenance routines. Investing in energy-efficient technologies and products can reap huge savings. Additionally, employees trained in proper procedures and consistent practices will greatly improve efficiency and minimize waste and downtime due to human error.”

In recent years, BCMA and the American Bakers Association (ABA) encouraged their members to participate in the Energy Star Challenge for Industry in conjunction with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Among its many goals, the voluntary program strives to help facilities reduce their energy intensity by 10% over five years.

Working with EPA, BCMA developed a Cookie and Cracker Energy Performance Indicator that provides a method for gauging energy performance throughout an operation and compares how a plant ranks among similar-sized facilities in the industry.

“Once a manufacturer has a better handle on their usage, a plan to address the area in most need of improvement can be developed,” Ms. Sharpless said.

ABA hopes to complete the Energy Star Guide for the Baking Industry by the end of this year, according to Rasma Zvaners, ABA policy director. “We are learning that a well-run energy program can reduce energy costs by 3 to 10% annually,” she said. “The energy guide will be a recipe of ideas for bakers who want to begin implementing an energy-efficiency program or perhaps improve one that is already in place.”

These programs typically require a step-by-step approach to achieving incremental savings that can add up over time, especially in existing facilities. “While it may be easier to implement more efficient features when designing a new bakery, there are smaller steps that can lead in the right direction,” Ms. Zvaners noted. “For example, when starting from scratch, consider beginning by monitoring your energy use or tracking fuel consumption.”

Replacing insulation and ensuring motors are properly sized represent examples of smaller, practical solutions for nearly all operations, she added.

Another easy way to eliminate wasting fuel in a direct gas-fired oven is to keep the burners and combustion components clean and the air/fuel ratio properly tuned, noted Jim Pezzuto, president of ERB CORE, a division of the Ensign Group, Pelham, NY.

“Burners that are partially lit, caused by dirt clogging the burner ribbons or ports, pump unburned fuel into the oven and out the stack,” he explained. “Clogged combustion air filters and mixer orifices increase the energy required to pump the proper amount of primary air to maintain oven temperature and can decrease the efficiency of the air/gas mixer. Maintaining the proper air/gas ratio to each burner is as easy as tweaking the ratio screw located in the gas line at each mixer. Proper adjustment often results in lower fuel consumption to maintain oven temperature and in lower carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from the stack. This requires very little investment, and the returns can be a 5 to 8 % decrease in oven energy usage.”

Finding hidden costs

Likewise, focusing on fundamentals such as investing in education can provide a significant payback. “A lack of cohesive, consistent training within a plant may result in a great deal of waste and will set back any sustainability initiatives put in place,” Ms. Sharpless said.

Initiating such programs isn’t always easy in today’s environment. “Tight staffing makes training difficult, and often companies cut training budgets to help short term in difficult economic times,” she explained. “However, in the long term, this results in inconsistent or improper procedures being performed and industry knowledge loss that is difficult to replace. These factors combined end up being very costly for any company.”

Overcoming the learning curve can open employees’ minds to uncovering new ways to reduce waste and improve interdepartmental cooperation, Mr. Wernimont noted. “Sustainable initiatives need to be viewed as an integrated program that brings into play all of the key engineering and operation disciplines in conjunction with major vendors, suppliers and consultants,” he said. “The more experienced the team, the more cost-effective the program.”

Many bakers and snack manufacturers must broaden their approach to eliminating waste. “You need to look at what has changed in the past 10 years, how market and consumer expectations have changed and ask yourself, ‘If the next 10 years see as much activity as the past 10 years, can I afford not to embrace some level of environmental stewardship?’ ” Mr. Wernimont asked.

Sustainability efforts tend to require a different approach to managing the bottom line. Take a $200,000 heat recovery project with an ROI of four years. “Some people wouldn’t consider this to be a good return, although if you consider the decision not to pursue results in lost revenues of more than $1 million over a 20-year period, considering a 3% annual utility rate increase, then it can paint a different picture,” Mr. Houtz said. “Companies operating at a 10% profit margin would need to generate $10 million in sales just to break even — not to mention that a lack of action resulted in more than 6,000 tons of greenhouse gas being discharged.”

In the end, Ms. Sharpless said, sustainability always comes down to costs and savings, and it eventually becomes as natural as closing a window on a cold day. “If a manufacturer can break down and measure its energy usage, make improvements and then see their monthly energy bill reduced, the value is self evident,” she said. “Furthermore, once proper and comprehensive training is in place, a manufacturer should be properly and efficiently producing product, which, of course, is the goal of all manufacturers.”

Semper Fi -- from Baking & Snack Magazine Article

View the original Baking & Snack article here: Semper Fi

December 2012

Operations Executive of the Year

Semper Fi

Michael Elenz brings Marine Corps philosophies to Schwebel Baking and the baking industry as a whole.

by Lucy Sutton

Always faithful. That’s the core ideal that has led Michael Elenz through his career to his current position as vice-president of manufacturing, Schwebel Baking Co., Youngstown, OH.

Having grown up in Youngstown, Mr. Elenz spent two years in the Marine Corps and received what he called “a tropical vacation in Vietnam paid for by the government” from 1968 to 1969. He started as a Military Police Officer, transferred in to the infantry and ended up as a decorated E-4 Corporal with two purple hearts. “I just did what any Marine would do,” he said.

Indeed, Mr. Elenz’s military background has informed his philosophies and approach throughout his career, one which earned him the title of 2012 Operations Executive of the Year.

From humble beginnings

Like so many in this industry, Mr. Elenz began working at a bakery as a temporary job to send himself through college after leaving the Corps. Although his degree in mechanical engineering and business at Youngstown State University went unfinished, his baking career was just taking hold.

After starting his career by unloading 100-lb bags of flour from railroad cars at Continental Baking’s Wonder Bread plant in Youngstown in 1969, Mr. Elenz learned the trade from the ground up, including working as a sanitation and shipping assistant while attending night classes. With encouragement from Jim Bassler, production superintendent, Mr. Elenz moved into production, which took him to the Wonder Bread plant in Detroit, MI, in 1976.

“I will say that was probably the roughest facility and my greatest learning experience,” Mr. Elenz said. “The plant was running very poorly at that time, and we were able to turn it around. At the same time, I met my mentor.”

That mentor, Tom Parks, production superintendent, worked with Mr. Elenz while in Detroit. After the Detroit bakery closed in 1985, Mike worked as plant superintendent in various Wonder Bread plants.

“He taught me a lot on management and baking,” Mr. Elenz said of Mr. Parks. “He was an old-school baker.”

Among the lessons gleaned from Mr. Parks was what Mr. Elenz refers to as his “aha moment” in bakery management.

“I was from the school that says you work real hard, but I also thought you had to do everything,” he said. “I would work extremely long hours and thought I had to be involved in everything hands-on.”

One day as the plant was busy relocating some equipment, Mr. Parks asked Mr. Elenz for something trivial. Throughout the day, as Mr. Elenz was running around the plant, Mr. Parks reminded him about the item.

“Finally, I was in the middle of something,” he recalled. “Tom came up to me, and he said, ‘Did you get it, Mike?’ And I said, ‘Tom, I don’t have time. I can’t do everything.’ He said, ‘That’s right.’ ”

In 1993, Mr. Elenz changed gears, leaving Wonder Bread for CooperSmith, a baking company in Mobile, AL, where he was the director of operations.

Two years later, he received a call from a recruiter. “They were very vague,” he said. “They said they had a bakery in northeastern Ohio, family owned. I said, ‘Well, I’m from Ohio; I grew up there. There’s only one that I know of.’ ”

Only half-looking, Mr. Elenz went back to his hometown for an interview at Schwebel Baking Co. and was quickly hired under Tom Shannon, then vice-president, manufacturing, to oversee production, sanitation, shipping, R&D and product development. After becoming plant manager of the Youngstown facility in 1996, Mr. Elenz was primed to take over Mr. Shannon’s position when he retired in 2001.

A little elbow grease

One constant in Mr. Elenz’s career has been a strong work ethic — although he learned to delegate. “I was raised if you do the job, do it right the first time,” he said. “I still believe working hard will allow you to do anything.”

Mr. Elenz also strongly believes in treating people the way you would like to be treated yourself. He aims to be firm, consistent and fair. On a bookshelf in his office, he proudly displays a plaque stating a maxim he adopted from Mr. Parks: “Standards set; standards met.”

The entire management team at Schwebel Baking has an open-door policy, preferring to work out issues when they’re small rather than let them build up.

“I hate surprises,” Mr. Elenz said. “If there’s an issue, you let me know, and we’ll take care of it right then. We have an opportunity; if something wasn’t quite right, you learn from it. If you keep making the same mistake, then we have a different issue.”

A key management philosophy that harks back to Mr. Elenz’s Marine Corps days is the chain of command. “If somebody has an issue, they should see their immediate supervisor,” he said. “People really only want one boss. They don’t need to have 10 people telling them what to do.”

Another legacy from his Marine service is a desire for mutual respect. “I think you can move up the ranks and technically have the power, but you need the respect with it,” Mr. Elenz said. “I don’t expect everybody to love me, but I try to earn their respect.”

A willing team

The respect Schwebel Baking employees have for Mr. Elenz was clear during a quick walk through of the plant when Baking & Snack visited the Youngstown facility (for more on the plant, see Page 30). Greeting his workers by name, Mr. Elenz received smiles and pats on the back in return.

“Everybody here takes pride in what they do,” he said. “They want to do a good job. More of their life is spent at the bakery than it is at home, so they have good friendships.” He pointed out that people who stick with the company for the first year usually end up staying until they’re ready to retire. One such employee has a teaching degree but prefers the camaraderie of the plant and has been with Schwebel Baking for more than 20 years.

Schwebel Baking rewards such long-tenured employees for their loyalty and safety records with the more desirable day shifts. The company committees, including the safety committee, are mostly composed of people on the floor to encourage the ability to speak freely.

In particular, Mr. Elenz relies on his four plant managers to make his life easier: John Phillips, Youngstown; Pat Lobb, Cuyahoga, OH; Joe Rebholz, Hebron, OH; and Ryan Wall, Solon, OH.

“Every one of their personalities is different,” Mr. Elenz said. “When I hire someone, I do not want another Mike Elenz. Everybody has their own personality, and as a good manager, you need to know those personalities.”

Each shares a desire to do a good job and make each loaf of bread better than the last, Mr. Elenz said. “Our whole team is our QA,” he said. “When we do projects, we get everybody’s input.”

Employees are given the chance to evaluate the products made on their shifts, underscoring the pride they take in their work. “They’re harder on themselves,” he said. “Some people might think, ‘They made that product. They’re biased.’ No. They’ll deduct more points on something than anybody else would.”

But it’s not just internal scores giving each shift bragging rights. In the seven years Schwebel has been a member of The Long Co. baking cooperative, the Youngstown facility has won the Best Bun trophy six times. This past year, every one of the company’s bakeries was in the Top 6. Mr. Elenz celebrates his plants’ wins with a presentation ceremony and a cookout or pizza party for the whole facility.

“People in general love to be thanked,” he said. “Just, ‘You did a good job.’ ” The company also has a competition among plants and shifts for waste, efficiency and safety, as well as a 110% award given every year to individuals and teams who exceed expectations. Results are announced in the company newsletter, and the company averages 300 to 400 awards per year.

Part of the family

Such recognition affords a strong sense of community. One of the few baking companies to continue management into the fourth generation of the founding family, Schwebel Baking Co. considers its employees part of its extended family. “It’s not a line; we actually do,” Mr. Elenz said. “My last name’s not Schwebel, I’m not a blood relative, but I take Schwebel’s as part of my life. Actually, I enjoy it more than the large corporations. It’s more personable.”

As an example, Mr. Elenz pointed out that Paul Schwebel, president, sits in the lunch room to eat with the employees. “If you didn’t know who Paul was and came in around lunch time, you would never pick him out as one of the owners,” Mr. Elenz said. “There’s not that air about him, or about any of us. We all have a common goal. We want to make the best product possible in the most efficient manner.”

It’s a sentiment shared by the entire baking industry, which is part of what has drawn him deeper into baking. “What other industry would people want to work the schedules and the hours that we do in a bakery?” he said. “But people do. We pay them well. It’s a great industry.”

When asked what one thing he would change about the baking industry if he could, Mr. Elenz immediately brought up the consolidation, both in bakeries and in industry suppliers. “When these large corporations take over, some of the art is being lost,” he said. “Some companies just get so large, they start to lose touch with their people on the line.”

It’s not all bad news, though. Through the uncertainty in commodity prices, regulations and the environment in general, Mr. Elenz said he is still excited to be baking bread every day. And he wants to make sure future generations get to do the same.

“You want to leave your industry hopefully a little better than when you came in, make sure it’s going to live on,” he said. “We have a say in every one of our employees’ lives. We want to make sure that we’re around for another 100 years to make sure they have good jobs.”

As long as the Schwebel family — and baking industry — keeps attracting to its business individuals with the drive and leadership of Mr. Elenz, that’s not so hard to imagine.

Giving back to the industry

Michael Elenz likes to be busy. As if his duties as vice-president of manufacturing, Schwebel Baking Co., Youngstown, OH, weren’t arduous enough, the baking industry veteran took on more responsibilities last year by becoming the 2012-13 chairman of the American Society of Baking (ASB).

Mr. Elenz’s first experience with ASB was in 1997, when Schwebel’s John Phillips, then plant manager at the Hebron, OH, facility, was chairman. Pat Shannon, son of Mr. Elenz’ boss, Tom Shannon — who was vice-president, manufacturing, at the time — was program chairman. Pat worked for Caravan Ingredients in technical support and sales.  

“I received a call saying, ‘I understand you want to give a paper this year,’ ” Mr. Elenz recalled. “I said, ‘Well, I guess so.’ ”

After delivering his paper, “QC on the Run,” Mr. Elenz was hooked. He said he still gives the paper to some of the company’s new supervisors because it remains relevant today. Passionate about the industry that has enabled him to raise four children, Mr. Elenz is committed to furthering baking education for future generations.

“I want to leave the society better for the upcoming young people,” he said. “Trying to get young bakers, young professionals involved in the industry; developing people so they can advance through their career.”    

100 Years On The Best-Seller's List -- from Snackfood & Wholesale Bakery

See the original article here: Snackfood & Wholesale Bakery

100 Years On The Best-Seller’s List
By Dan Malovany
Bakery pioneer Dora Schwebel raised six children on her own, helped feed a community during the Great Depression and built one of the industry’s most successful independent bakeries through sheer will … and by outworking the competition.

Fresh out of college in the early 1960s, Joe Schwebel was ready to hit the world running. His alma mater, Wharton School of Business, literally specialized in teaching its students how to run a company like General Motors. In fact, his undergraduate thesis was “Methodology of Problem Solving.” Now that’s hardcore.

So, first day back on the job at the family bakery in Youngstown, Ohio, Joe Schwebel asked his grandmother Dora, “Where’s my office going to be?”
Little did he know.

Dora Schwebel, the company’s founder and president at that time, kindly invited him into her office, sat him down and set him straight.
“We have 39 wholesale routes,” she told him. “Tomorrow, you’re going to ride route No. 1, which leaves the bakery at 4:30 in the morning and goes to Warren, Ohio. The next day, you’re going to ride route No. 2. That goes to Campbell, Ohio, at five in the morning. “When you get done riding all 39 routes, then we’ll talk about what you’re going to do next,” she added. “We’ve been making a lot of money without you for a lot of years.”
The moral of this story?

“You don’t learn the bakery business out of a book,” Joe Schwebel now says. “It’s a street business. You learn it on the street with customers and with people who you work with. That was a great lesson for me.”
In addition to Dora, Irving and David Schwebel, Joe Schwebel is the only other president of this venerable independent baking company, which operates four plants and 29 distribution centers that serve most of Ohio, western Pennsylvania, western New York and northern West Virginia. The bakery produces an extensive line of products, ranging from the signature Jewish Rye Bread that has the same formula Dora Schwebel used back in 1906 to an assortment of sandwich breads, hearth baked products, brown ‘n serve items and even bagels, English muffins, pita and tortillas.
Not only is Schwebel Baking the retail market share leader in Cleveland; Akron/Canton; Youngstown; and Columbus, Ohio; as well as in Pittsburgh and Erie, Pa., it also is the leading restaurant-and-institution baker across most of its territory. That’s quite an accomplishment in a fiercely competitive market that’s home to several of the nation’s major players.
“We should all wear badges that say, ‘survivor,’” Joe Schwebel likes to say. “Any company that reaches the 100-year milestone has gone through some difficult issues, problems and challenges.”
An Industry Pioneer
Alyson Winick, the bakery’s senior vice president — sales and one of nine family members currently running the business, remembers her Grandma Dora as strong-willed with an often no-nonsense attitude. She also recalls the lore of this baking industry pioneer.
In 1905, according to Winick, Dora’s husband Joseph Schwebel initially went into business with a partner and lost everything within a year.
Shortly after that business failed, he asked his wife, “What are we going to do?”

“First of all,” she replied, “we aren’t going to have any partners.”

Within eight years of baking the first loaf of bread, Schwebel Baking was serving a growing number of mom-and-pop stores, eventually hiring its first delivery/salesperson. A short time later in 1923, the Schwebel’s business base had expanded so much that they spent $25,000 to open a small bakery that produced 1,000 loaves a day distributed by six delivery trucks.
In 1928, however, Joseph Schwebel died, leaving Dora with six children and a bakery to run. Friends and family wanted her to sell the operation and focus on raising her family.
“That was the furthest thing from her mind,” Winick says. “She forged forward to make this thing work. She had her family to feed and the families of others who worked for her. She felt very responsible.”
During the next year, the second shoe fell. The market crashed, the business lost its investments, and the ensuing money crunch left the company with no upfront cash to pay the local miller who supplied it with flour.
“Faced with closing the business, she got credit by saying, ‘If you don’t give me credit, I’m going out of business. I don’t have the money to pay for next week’s flour. If you give me credit and I don’t fulfill my obligations, I will clean your floors to pay it off,’ and she meant that,” Winick says.
With her son, Irving, who had returned home from his second year in college, Dora Schwebel and the family made it through the Great Depression. In fact, the business flourished so well that Schwebel’s built a new bakery in 1936 and expanded it in 1938 and 1941. Ten years later, the family opened their “million-dollar-bakery,” making the company a fixture in Youngstown.
“She ran a business when women didn’t run businesses,” Winick explains. “She didn’t try to gain anything from it. She fed the city of Youngstown at times during the Depression. If you were hungry, you could always get bread from Aunt Dora.”
Expanding Its Borders
Dora Schwebel passed away in 1964. However, under the guidance of Irving Schwebel, her successor, the baking company moved beyond the Youngstown area in the 1970s, opening up a depot in Canton and sparking an era of geographic growth over the next three decades.
In 1974, for instance, the local bakery in Cleveland went belly up. Panicked restaurant customers there called Schwebel Baking to bail them out. At midnight after getting the call, Joe Schwebel recalls, the bakery sent out a driver/salesman with a flashlight, map and baked goods. Cleveland, he says, now is multi-million market for the company.
Like many baking companies, Schwebel Baking expanded through acquisitions as the baking industry consolidated. In 1976, for instance, it purchased Vienna Baking Co. outside of Pittsburgh, allowing it to enter western Pennsylvania. Throughout Ohio, it bought bakeries in Cuyahoga Falls, Solon and Hebron.
In some cases, Schwebel’s built a market from scratch by simply establishing a distribution center in a town. In the 1980s in Columbus, about 180 miles from Youngstown, the baking company leased a large building, rented a furnished apartment and gave two sales people 12 months to crack the market.
“If you fill up one semi a day within a year, fine. We’ll stay in Columbus. If not, we’re coming home,” Joe Schwebel remembers telling them.
“As luck would have it, a couple months after they moved down there, there were changes in the market,” he adds.
Ohio State University put its baking business up for re-bid. Schwebel’s got it, the semi was full, and the rest is history.

Tribute to its Heritage
To solidify its position in the bread aisle, the company continually developed new products. Joe Schwebel’s favorite was Golden Rich bread, which took the market by storm in 1967.
“The bread was richer than others,” he recalls. “It was made with eggs, more sugar and more flavor, and it had a gold wrapper and we had fun with it. We presented it to our customers in a treasure chest with dangles and beads, and inside was this loaf of bread. We got extra space and displays and within a year, it became our leading seller.”
The bakery also added a battalion of franchise brands, including Roman Meal and Country Hearth, to name a few. One of its more recent franchised brands is a breakfast bread sold under the Cinnabonname.
To develop brand loyalty, Schwebel’s has relied on newspaper ads, billboards, and television and radio commercials. Some commercials focus on taste, quality, family and tradition. Others use humor to slam the message home. For example, one TV spot shows a little boy tossing competitors’ bread pieces to ducks, which in turn whip it back at the kid. The message is: “If it’s not Schwebel’s, don’t eat it,” says Lee Schwebel, director of corporate communications.
So extensive are its archives that Schwebel’s has compiled a CD of 15 of its classic radio commercials. Dating back the mid 1950s, the hit list includes a holiday greeting by Dora Schwebel — probably the only recording of her — and another featuring Happy The Clown, who made his debut in 1932 to boost the spirits of consumers during the Depression and is still used as the company’s mascot.
At Schwebel’s headquarters, the lobby and hallways have been transformed into a museum dedicated to the company’s rich past.
The walls are covered with snapshots of uniformed route sales reps, vintage vehicles and bakers working on production line making bread using the eight-hour, sponge-and-dough process for bread and a 28-hour process for its signature rye bread.
“We believe in quality,” says Joe Schwebel, who has been heading the company since 1985. “We use only the finest ingredients. We don’t believe in taking shortcuts when it comes to making a quality loaf of bread.”
In addition to photos of the founders, their children and the current family members, the bakery displays print ads from throughout the decades, which document how the brand evolved over the years to remain relevant to consumers. Newspaper articles capture key historical moments for both the bakery and the country. Assorted bakery memorabilia is set up like a time capsule on display.
The theme to the anniversary is “Celebrating 100 Years … Thanks To You.” Besides promoting its centennial on packaging, the bakery is relying on a public relations media campaign to spread the word, Lee Schwebel explains.
Moreover, the company has divided the yearlong celebration into four phases. After launching the campaign in January, the company held two days of internal parties with its 1,280 employees and 370 retirees in April. In September, Schwebel’s will conduct a back-to-school campaign on the packages of its products, and during the holiday season, “the bakery will give back to the community,” Lee Schwebel says.
For Joe Schwebel, the most comforting aspect of the centennial is that the fourth generation of family members is getting involved in the business.
“We inherited a legacy from our grandparents, who started the business in 1906,” he says. “It was all about the family staying together. The family is always at the core. The family must work together. That’s essential. That must continue for us to be successful as we go forward.”
At a Glance
Company:  Schwebel Baking Co. Inc.
Headquarters:  Youngstown, Ohio
Founded:  In 1906 by Dora and Joseph Schwebel
Brands:  Schwebel’s  along with Country Hearth, Millbrook, ‘taliano, Roman Meal, Sun-Maid, Cinnabon bread and Milton’s brands
Products: Bread, buns, rolls, English muffins, bagels, pita and tortillas for retail and foodservice channels
No. of Bakeries:  4. Youngstown, Cuyahoga Falls, Solon and Hebron, Ohio. Produce 700,000 loaves daily.
No. of Employees:  1,280
Web site:

Key Personnel
President:  Joseph Schwebel
Executive V.P.:  Paul Schwebel
Sr. V.P.-Purchasing:  Barry Solomon
Sr. V.P.-Sales:  Alyson Winick
Sr. V.P. -Transportation:  Joseph Winick
Treas./Sr. Accountant:  David Alter
Dir. of Corp. Communications:  Lee Schwebel
Strategic Technology:  Adam Schwebel
Accounting/Financial Analyst:  Maryn Schwebel


Bakers have dozens of reasons for you to eat a lot more bread -- The Salt Lake Tribune

See the original article here: The Salt Lake Tribune

PORTLAND, Maine - Low-carb bread? That's so 2004.

The bread industry, hoping for a comeback after last year's low-carb fad, is trying to get people to eat bread because it's good for them - especially when it's made with whole grains the government says we should all have.

Bread makers learned from the low-carb craze that they need to market themselves better. So, three weeks after the government issued guidelines calling for adults to have three one-ounce servings of whole grains a day, the industry is promoting whole-grain products and starting a campaign touting the health benefits of bread.

Industry officials say dietary trends are working in their favor, as low-carb peaked early last year.

''There was an all-out assault on our industry, but people are coming back to bread and are realizing why they loved it in the first place,'' said Lee Schwebel of Schwebel Baking Co. in Youngstown, Ohio. ''Try making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without bread.''

Today, the industry will launch a low-carb counterattack pointing to the benefits of grains as part of an overall diet. The $3.5 million Grains for Life campaign will be announced in New York and Washington with billboards, posters and people dancing in bread costumes.

''The message we're trying to get out is it's the calories, not the carbs,'' said Lori Sachau of the Wheat Foods Council in Colorado.

Critics contend it was predictable that fickle American consumers would eventually tire of the latest diet, but bread industry officials were surprised at how quickly low-carb seemed to fall out of favor. A survey by NPD Group, an independent marketing information company, found the number of American adults on any low-carb diet peaked at 9.1 percent last February and dropped to 3.6 percent by mid-November.

''The path low-carb has taken is not unlike a lot of other stuff except that it burst so fast. It went up very fast. Sometimes when things go up fast, they come down just as fast,'' said Stan Osman from Interstate Bakeries Corp., maker of Wonder Bread, Twinkies and other baked goods.

But that's not to say the nation is about to see a bread boom. Bread sales were flat even before the obsession with the Atkins, South Beach and other carb-limiting diets, and the industry can't make up for the lost ground overnight.

While bread is still a staple for most Americans, they're not eating it as often as they used to, causing a slow decline that has been offset only by a growing population. On average, Americans ate 136 pounds of wheat flour in 2003, a drop of 10 pounds over a three-year period, Sachau said.

In Portland, Stephen Lanzalotta opened his Italian bakery in 2000 with bread accounting for about 80 percent of sales. Business dipped in part because of low-carb diets, and bread now accounts for 20 percent of sales.

Lanzalotta stayed in business by boosting his offerings of sandwiches and pastries and expanding his menu with breakfast and Sunday brunch.

''I'm becoming more of a restaurateur than a baker. It's wearing on me. From an ideological point of view, I don't enjoy cooking as much as baking,'' he said.

Around the corner, the number of low-carb dieters at Anthony's Italian Kitchen has dropped, and they're drifting back to pizza, pasta and panini sandwiches.

Barassa said his customers tell him they got bored with Atkins-style diets, which are heavy on salads, meats, cheeses and eggs. White bread, pasta, potatoes and other carbo-loaded foods are blacklisted.

''It's something you get tired of,'' he said. ''How many omelets can you eat?''

Across town, Big Sky Baking Co. owner Martha Elkus said she's not surprised that whole grains are winning customers.

''We've always maintained that all carbs are not created equal. Whole-grain is a complex carbohydrate. Complex carbs are the best source of energy,'' she said.

Overall, the shift away from low-carb diets is drawing people back not just to bread but to other products that took a hit, like orange juice, cereals, potatoes, bagels and pasta products.

Meanwhile, many consumers have given up on the diet-inspired products companies created, such as low-carb bread or pasta.

''There were a lot of low-carb products that were rushed to the market that didn't taste good,'' Crowder said. ''That's probably what turned a lot of consumers off.''

Schwebel Baking Company Takes Home Best Bun Annual Award

Download the full release here: Schwebel Baking Company Takes Home Best Bun Annual Award

September 14, 2009 – Chicago, IL – Independent bakery cooperative, The Long Company, awarded Schwebel Baking Company with The Long Company’s Best Premium Bun Gold Cup Annual Trophy. Mike Elenz, Vice President Manufacturing accepted the trophy from Al Bachman, Director of Quality, Research and Development from The Long Company, at The Long Company’s Annual Conference in Chicago on September 11th. This is the fourth year in a row Schwebel’s has won the best bun award.

Over seventy participating wholesale bakeries send premium bread samples to The Long Company headquarters for scoring. The Long Company’s Technical Services staff rates samples for qualities such as crust thickness and color, interior grain and uniformity of cell structure, flavor, aroma and general eating qualities. The annual winners receive a traveling trophy to display in their bakery for one year.

The annual winner has the highest average score of one year worth of product. Schwebel’s Hebron, OH, scored 95.89 points out of a possible 100 points in the bun category. Schwebel’s Youngstown, OH, plant and also scored third with a score of 95.05. Results of the top 14 bread and bun winners are available on The Long Company’s Website, .

Established in 1900, The Long Company is a bakery cooperative serving the independent baker. Long, owners of the federally- registered Holsum trademark, which has been in production since 1909, has a highly qualified staff of professionals who are governed by a board of directors composed of bakery owners and general management executives. The Long Company offers a full-range of bakery consulting services, including manufacturing, engineering, sanitation, purchasing, and more. Long’s consultants are industry experts that have the unique advantage of observing firsthand industry wide technical developments, and have the experience to determine what is working and what is not.

Schwebel Baking Company History -- from Funding Universe

See the original article here: Funding Universe

Company Perspectives:

Our Pledge To You: Many things change over time, but for nearly a century, the quality, freshness and great taste of Schwebel's breads and buns has been something that consumers have come to expect. Guaranteed Quality. At Schwebel's, our master bakers make use of some of the most innovative, state-of-the-art baking equipment available today to keep quality its highest. Guaranteed Freshness. Four strategically located bakeries and a comprehensive direct store delivery system guarantee product freshness. Guaranteed Product Variety. Schwebel's caters to the many tastes and lifestyles of today's consumers, with a large selection of mainstream and specialty breads, buns and rolls to please any palate. Guaranteed Nutrition. Rich in complex carbohydrates, a vital energy source, Schwebel's bakery products are vitamin enriched, low in fat, and cholesterol free. Guaranteed Food Safety. Schwebel's is continually awarded for excellence in quality, cleanliness and food safety by the American Institute of Baking (AIB) and Quality Bakers of America (QBA).

Key Dates:

Dora and Joseph Schwebel begin selling home-baked bread in Campbell, Ohio.
Sales through retail outlets begin.
The company builds a new bakery/store.
Joseph Schwebel dies; Dora Schwebel takes control of the firm.
A new, larger bakery is built, doubling output.
A modern $1 million bakery is opened in Youngstown, Ohio.
Dora Schwebel dies; Irving Schwebel takes over the presidency of the firm.
National licensing of Schwebel's Golden Rich Bread begins.
Vienna Baking Co. is acquired.
Lawson Bakery is purchased.
Joseph Schwebel is named president of the firm.
Millbrook Bread of Cleveland is acquired.
The company purchases Kroger Company's Northcoast Bakery in Solon, Ohio.
Additional baking facilities in Hebron, Ohio are acquired from Kaufman's Bakery.
SBC Transportation is formed.
Schwebel Baking Company is inducted into the Family Business Hall of Fame, located at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland.

Company History:

Schwebel Baking Company is a large regional bakery based in Youngstown, Ohio. The firm produces 700,000 loaves of bread and packages of buns a day, along with bagels, English muffins, pita bread, and tortillas. Its products are distributed throughout Ohio and in parts of New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Schwebel's brands include Country Hearth, Roman Meal, Cinnabon, 'taliano, Millbrook, Vogel's, Fit for Life, Aladdin's, and Sun-Maid Raisin. Frozen bread products also are produced for sale to wholesale and foodservice accounts around the United States. The 100-year-old company is owned and run by members of the Schwebel family.

Early Years

The beginnings of Schwebel Baking Company date to 1906, when Dora and Joseph Schwebel began baking bread and selling it in and around the small town of Campbell, Ohio. Their first offering was Jewish Rye, which was delivered on foot in wicker laundry baskets. After several years the Schwebels started using a horse and wagon and expanded their delivery area to nearby Youngstown.

In 1914 the Schwebels began selling their bread through several local grocery stores. To keep up with the increased demand, they hired additional bakers and a delivery driver/salesman. In 1923 they invested $25,000 in building a new bakery, which also featured a retail sales counter. The small company now had six delivery trucks and 15 employees and was delivering 1,000 loaves of bread per day.

In 1928 tragedy struck when Joseph Schwebel died suddenly at the age of 46. Although friends advised Dora to sell the bakery and stay at home with her six children, she decided to keep running the business. The stock market crashed the following year, but she was able to negotiate several critical agreements that enabled the firm to keep operating.

In 1932, in the depths of the Great Depression, Dora Schwebel created "Happy the Clown," a character whose face was placed on the company's bread wrappers as a symbol of hope for the future. The company was growing despite the hard times, and in 1936 a new $100,000 bakery was built that doubled production capacity and improved efficiency. It was expanded in 1938 and again in 1941.

Opening of "Million Dollar Bakery" in 1951

Following World War II Schwebel Baking continued to grow, and in 1951 the company built a new $1 million bakery in Youngstown that featured state-of-the-art equipment, enabling it to create new product lines like Toasti-Taste Bread. By 1960, the company's annual revenues had grown to approximately $2 million.

Over the years a number of Schwebel family members had taken jobs with the company, which continued to be family owned. They were not given a quick and easy path to the top, however. After Dora's grandson Joseph graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's prestigious Wharton School of Business in 1960, he asked her where his office would be. As he told Inside Business years later, "She told me the next day I would ride route No. 1, which left at 4:30 in the morning. She told me that I was going to ride every route and then we were going to talk about what I was going to do after that." At that time, the company had 39 delivery routes. He soon came to realize the wisdom of her approach, however. "All the action, in stores, with customers, in restaurants, that's where you learn. So that was my real education."

In 1964 Dora Schwebel died at age 76, and her son Irving was named president of the firm. In 1967 the company began licensing its popular Golden Rich Bread nationwide, and in 1972 the company opened a distribution center in Canton, Ohio, its first facility outside of Youngstown.

In 1974 Schwebel's entered the Cleveland market, and two years later the firm purchased the Vienna Baking Company in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, and began selling bread in Pittsburgh. The year 1977 saw the Youngstown plant expanded and fully automated, allowing it to produce more than 100 loaves of bread per minute. This and other expansion efforts would allow the firm to double its output.

Growth continued in the early 1980s with the acquisition of the Lawson Bakery of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio in 1981 and the opening of a new distribution center in Columbus, Ohio in 1983. That same year the firm signed a contract to supply bread to the Epcot Center at Florida's Walt Disney World, and also began broadcasting radio commercials using the catchy "We Want Schwebel's" jingle.

Naming Joseph Schwebel President in 1984

In 1984 Irving Schwebel's eldest son Joseph was named president of the company. He had worked for a number of years as restaurant and institutional sales manager for the firm and as vice-president of sales since 1981.

In 1987 Schwebel's acquired Millbrook Bread of Cleveland from Interstate Brands Corp. and also expanded to western New York by opening a distribution center in Buffalo. The growth of the company's wholesale baking business was recognized in 1989 by theQuality Bakers of America President's Cup, which was given to the country's premier wholesale baker.

Members of the Schwebel family had often given generously to others, and in 1988 they formed the Schwebel Family Foundation to oversee their philanthropic efforts. They had been particularly supportive of local educational organizations, including Kent State University and Youngstown State University. At Kent State the Schwebels established a scholarship fund for employees, endowed a Hospitality Management lecture series, supported the school's Jewish Studies and athletic departments, and helped create a restaurant in the Kent State Student Center, the Schwebel Garden Room.The 1990s saw expansion continue with the 1990 purchase of the Kroger Company's Northcoast Bakery in Solon, Ohio, and the 1995 acquisition of a similar facility in Hebron, Ohio from Kaufman's Bakery. By now, annual revenues had grown to nearly $100 million.

In the mid-1990s a licensing deal was signed that enabled Schwebel's to bake bread using ingredients from cereal maker Kellogg's and use that firm's logo on its packaging. Several different varieties were produced, including All-Bran, Low-Fat Granola, and Nutri-Grain. By this time the firm also had signed agreements to produce baked goods for Stouffer's and Pillsbury.

Formation of a Trucking Subsidiary in 1996

The year 1996 saw the formation of a separate trucking subsidiary, SBC Transportation, Inc. Delivering the firm's fresh baked goods in a timely fashion required more than 600 vehicles. The year 1996 also saw Schwebel's switch advertising agencies to Pittsburgh-based MARC. The company was spending an estimated $2 million per year on advertising at this time.

In 1997 Schwebel's acquired several sales routes from Flowers Industries, Inc. of West Virginia. The company would supply bread, buns, and rolls to Flowers customers in central Ohio and Pittsburgh, and gained exclusive distribution rights to Flowers' BlueBird snack cakes and pastries in central Ohio. In September, 100 teamsters briefly struck the firm, stopping its deliveries to Pittsburgh, before they agreed to a new three-year contract.

The year 1997 also saw Schwebel Baking Company inducted into the Family Business Hall of Fame, located at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland. Numerous Schwebel family members continued to be involved in the firm, ranging from board chairman Frances Solomon, the 84-year-old daughter of Dora and Joseph Schwebel, to a recently hired fourth-generation family member. The firm was still entirely family owned.

In 1999 annual sales reached a new height of $125 million. The firm was now using the Internet to communicate with supermarket chains and take payments, and it expanded this capability over the next several years.

In early 2000 Schwebel's began running advertisements on radio stations in Cleveland, Columbus, and Pittsburgh that revived the catchy "We Want Schwebel's" jingle that first had been used almost two decades earlier. At this time the company was selling 52 percent white bread, 18 percent whole wheat, and 18 percent Italian and potato bread. The firm was the top maker of premium white bread in central Ohio, Pittsburgh, and Erie, Pennsylvania. In addition to its own brands, the company had contracts to produce Roman Meal, Country Hearth, and Sun-Maid Raisin bread.

In 2002 Schwebel's partnered with children's cable television network Nickelodeon for a three-month promotional campaign. Purchasers of loaves of Giant White Bread would receive a free trial issue of Nickelodeon Magazine.

During this period the bread industry was seeing a steady decline in the sales of many of its products. A national consumer trend away from white bread and toward more whole grain products caused white bread sales to fall by approximately 10 percent beginning in the late 1990s. Bagel sales had dropped 15 percent, while sales of hamburger and hot dog buns to fast-food restaurants had declined even more, by 20 percent, over a five-year span. Only more expensive premium bread and artisan bakery bread had increased in popularity.

When the craze for low-carbohydrate diets like Atkins and South Beach reached a fever pitch in 2003, millions of Americans began cutting back even further on carbohydrate-rich bread products. As sales at many baking firms plunged, the industry entered full crisis mode. Schwebel's fought back by creating a low-carbohydrate bread that used wheat gluten or proteins derived from beans instead of flour, while also taking a pro-carbohydrate stance and promoting the nutritional value of its products, which until only recently had been taken for granted.

Company president Joseph Schwebel, a former chairman of the American Institute of Baking, also helped form a new lobbying group, the Foundation for the Advancement of Grain-Based Foods, which would perform research into the health benefits of bread and other grain foods. By November of 2004 the number of American adults on low-carbohydrate diets was fading, dropping to 3.6 percent from 9.1 percent in February, according to research firm NPD Group.

After nearly 100 years, Schwebel Baking Company had grown into the leading baking firm in Ohio and parts of New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Still family owned and managed, the firm anticipated producing tasty, healthful baked goods for many more years to come.

Principal Subsidiaries:  SBC Transportation, Inc.

Principal Competitors:  Interstate Bakeries Corporation; Sara Lee Bakery Group; Pepperidge Farm, Inc.; Alfred Nickles Bakery, Inc.

The Inside Story: Dora Schwebel -- from The Sidney Daily News

See the original article here: The Sidney Daily News

Dora Schwebel “We want Schwebel’s!” That slogan and the bright, smiling clown on loaves of fresh bread are the legacy of the marketing and business genius of Dora Schwebel, the business half of the married couple who started baking bread in their Campbell, Ohio, kitchen in 1906.

Dora and Joseph Schwebel sold their first bread, Jewish rye bread, door-to-door to neighbors, largely immigrantsteelworkers. Soon after, horses and wagons transported their bread, still warm from the oven, to mom-and-pop stores. By 1914, Dora’s tenacity and business acumen made it possible for families to purchase Schwebel’s bread at local food stores.

By 1923, a fleet of six trucks delivered fresh Schwebel’s bread to an ever-growing market. The Schwebels took a big step that year, investing $25,000 in a new bakery that allowed them to produce, distribute and grow in their expanding market. Joseph died in 1928, leaving Dora, with six young children, as the sole owner and president of the growing business. Facing many obstacles – including some perceptions about a woman’s role and capabilities in society and the stock market crash of 1929, the family and the company survived.During the Great Depression Dora created Happy the Clown, a figure that still appears on Schwebel’s bread wrappers, to brighten spirits and serve as a symbol of hope. A larger bakery was built in 1936 and expanded in 1938 and 1941, doubling production and efficiency.

Through it all, Dora still found the time and financial resources to help the less fortunate. She was honored by the nation of Israel in 1958 and elected to the National Council of American Friends of Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She established a scholarship endowment fund at Brandeis University and a science laboratory at Youngstown State University. Eventually, Dora was named one of Youngstown’s most influential people of the 20th century.A bronze replica of Schwebel’s 100 millionth loaf was presented to Dora in 1959. In 1964, she died at age 76, leaving the business to her children and grandchildren. Today, 10 third- and fourth-generation Schwebel family members work in the business.

Hall of Fame Honors Schwebel's Founder -- from Made in Youngstown

See the original article here: Made in Youngstown

Dora Schwebel, co-founder of the Schwebel Baking Co., with first lady Eleanor Roosevelt in the 1950s in Youngstown, Ohio. Image courtesy of the Schwebel Baking Co.

By Natalie Lariccia | Special to the Metro Monthly

From the familiar yellow plastic bags adorned with a smiling clown face, to the appetizing aroma of fresh bread that permeates Midlothian Boulevard, near the Youngstown-Struthers border, Schwebel’s Bakery stands as a symbol of Youngstown’s history.
But the nearly 103-year-old, family-owned bakery represents much more than a long-standing Youngstown baking icon. Schwebel’s is a direct result of the courage and perseverance of one widow who refused to quit.

Even through some of the most devastating personal and economic circumstances and during an era when women were not typically running businesses and raising families, Dora Schwebel never stopped believing that her company would rise and prosper to become one of the most recognized bakeries in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.

And, just in time for Women’s History Month, Dora Schwebel’s legacy will be commemorated with her induction into the Baking Hall of Fame during the American Baking Society’s 2009 Baking Tech Conference March 1-4 in Chicago.

Although Dora is deceased, some of Dora’s relatives, including Lee Schwebel, Dora’s great grandson and Schwebel’s director of corporate communications, will attend the ceremony.

Lee Schwebel never had the opportunity to meet Dora – he was just one year old when she died – but he is familiar with the many endearing stories about his grandmother and has helped gather a vast collection of photographs, newspaper articles, advertisements, memorabilia and audio recordings that memorialize Dora and the bakery.

“She had the heart of Mother Theresa, but she was tough. I never knew her, but I was obviously influenced by her legacy as it’s been passed down from generation to generation,” Lee Schwebel said.
The story of Schwebel’s bakery began in the small kitchen of Dora’s Campbell home that she shared with her husband, Joseph Schwebel. A young Polish immigrant, Joseph arrived in America in 1898, and married Dora – then 19-years-old – in 1906.

Fresh from the experience of losing just about everything from his initial baking business, Dora suggested to her husband that she should be his new business partner.

Within eight years of baking their first loaf in 1906, Schwebel’s was serving a growing number of small grocery stores, and in 1923, the Schwebels spent $25,000 to open a small bakery on Lawrence Avenue that produced 1,000 loaves a day.

Tough times ensued when Joseph suddenly died of appendicitis, leaving Dora a widow raising six young children, as well as managing the bakery.

Friends and family encouraged her to sell the bakery and focus on raising her family, but Dora refused. In 1929, she faced more hardship when the stock market crashed and the business lost nearly all its investments, leaving Dora without cash to pay the local miller that supplied it with flour. But Dora was determined to maintain her business and convinced the flour companies to extend credit to continue operations.

The Great Depression followed, and while the economy floundered, Schwebel’s flourished, opening a new bakery in 1936. The company’s still-current mascot, Happy the Clown, was introduced as a symbol of hope and optimism during this otherwise bleak time. Dora also helped served the hungry and poor in the community by distributing loaves to those in need, Lee Schwebel said.

In 1951, Schwebel’s opened its “Million Dollar Bakery” at its current location on Midlothian Boulevard, which serves as the company headquarters. Dora remained an active fixture in the company’s operations until she died in 1964.

Today, Schwebel’s continues to prosper, employing about 1,400 workers at its four baking facilities and 30 distribution centers across Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia.

Lee Schwebel, who joined the company in 1995, recalls a fond memory when he heard Dora’s voice for the first time after stumbling across an old record of a WKBN radio broadcast that featured Schwebel’s history and Dora’s efforts.

“It was like opening up a treasure chest. It was very emotional,” he said. “It gives us a much better understanding of the times, hearing her voice. If Dora didn’t persevere and demand that we (Schwebel’s) continue we wouldn’t be here . . . it’s that simple.”

Joe Schwebel, Schwebel’s president, recalled a fond memory of joining Schwebel’s in 1960 as a rather “full of himself” college graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Although Joe Schwebel, who is Dora’s grandson and Lee’s father, may have expected to have a more prestigious office Job, Dora put him to work on early morning shifts, learning the company’s 39 wholesale delivery routes.

“The moral of the story is that I learned more about business riding those 39 routes than I learned in four years of college . . . I think she (Dora) still inspires us today. Her presence was so strong,” Joe Schwebel said.

Schwebel’s history

1898 – Joseph Schwebel, an apprentice baker, comes to America from Poland at age 16.

1900 – Dora Goldberg emigrates from Poland at age 13 with an eighth-grade education.

1906 – Joseph and Dora marry and start baking rye bread in an old fashioned stove in their East Youngstown (Campbell) home. They deliver on foot using wicker laundry baskets filled with 40 pounds of bread. Their primary customers are steel workers living in boarding houses.

1914 – A driver/salesman begins making deliveries by horse and buggy. Customer base expands to mom-and-pop stores.

1923 – With a capital investment of $25,000, the Schwebels open a small bakery on West Lawrence Avenue in Youngstown. Production increases to 1,000 loaves daily. Six trucks make deliveries. The company has 15 employees.

1928 – Joseph Schwebel dies of acute appendicitis at age 46. Dora Schwebel assumes leadership of the company and son Irving Schwebel leaves college to help run the business.

1929 – The stock market crashes and the Great Depression begins. Dora Schwebel takes steps to preserve assets.

1930 – The company invests $8,000 in a new dough mixer. Dora Schwebel guarantees payments to creditors by promising to work on her hands and knees, if necessary.

1931 – Schwebel Baking Co. incorporates.

1932 – The company introduces “Happy the Clown” as its company trademark.

1936 – Schwebel’s introduces bread sliced and wrapped by hand. A $50,000 plant expansion increases production to 15,000 loaves daily. The company installs new automated equipment to separate loaves from baking pans and package 1,800 loaves per hour. Eleven delivery trucks now service customers.

1941 – The U.S. government subsidizes the company during World War II to ensure an adequate food supply. The majority of the company’s output is shipped to the Ravenna Arsenal in Ravenna, Ohio to feed the military. Production increases to 24,000 loaves per day and delivery expands to a 50-mile radius.

1945-48 – Sales department goes entirely wholesale; house-to-house sales discontinued.

1949 – The company constructs a new bakery on Midlothian Boulevard in Youngstown.

1950 – Fire destroys most of the West Lawrence Avenue bakery location.

1951 – Schwebel’s moves into the new $1 million bakery on Midlothian Boulevard. Capacity grows to 40,000 loaves per day.

1954 – Employees number 100.

1955-1963 – The Midlothian bakery expands numerous times.

1964 – Dora Schwebel dies at age 76.

1968 – Schwebel’s presents a bronze replica of its 100 millionth loaf to Youngstown Mayor Frank Kryzan.

1969 – Company introduces Roman Meal.

1972 – A Canton distribution center opens, the first move outside the Youngstown market.

1974 – Schwebel’s enters the Cleveland market when Laub Bakery of Cleveland closes.

1976 – Schwebel’s enters the Pittsburgh market with the purchase of the McKeesport, Pa. Vienna Bakery.

1977 – A $2.5 million expansion in Youngstown fully automates bread production. The state-of-the-art bread line produces 120 loaves per minute.

1983 – Schwebel’s begins providing its original rye bread to Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center.

1984 – The company completes a $2 million plant and office expansion.

1990 – Three Schwebel’s bakeries have a combined capacity to produce 500,000 pounds of bread products daily.

1995 – The fourth generation of the Schwebel family begins working for the company.

2006 – Schwebel’s celebrates 100 years.

– Source: Schwebel Baking Co.

© 2010, The Metro Monthly. All rights reserved.

Ohio State President, Students Tour Schwebel's -- from The Business Journal Daily

See the original article here: The Business Journal Daily

Ohio State President, Students Tour Schwebel's

By Emily Russo

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- Ohio State University students learned something Wednesday about of the bread they eat on campus.

On Ohio State’s Friend Raising Tour, they, OSU President Gordon Gee and mascot Brutus Buckeye stopped at Schwebel's bakery on Midlothian Boulevard.

The visit was part of Gee's annual tour to educate students about Ohio beyond Columbus. Schwebel's director of marketing, Lee Schwebel, led the tour during which he related the history of the family-owned business and showed how bread is made.

"Our tour right now is really focusing on jobs, keeping jobs here in Ohio, keeping our kids here in Ohio, and growing homegrown businesses such as Schwebel's," Gee said afterward.

State Rep. Ron Gerberry, D-59 Austintown and state senators Capri Cafaro, D-32 Hubbard, and Joe Schiavoni, D-33 Canfield joined the tour. "It's a great opportunity to show off the Mahoning Valley," Cafaro remarked. "It really displays what we have to offer."

Said Cafaro, "11.6 million students have a stake in the university, so we want to look at our partnerships with Youngstown State University and a variety of other institutions. Most importantly, we just want to tell the people that we love them."

Earlier stops on the Friend Raising Tour included the American Mug and Stein in East Liverpool and Stark State where Gee signed a partnership agreement with community colleges.

The bakery was founded in 1906 by Lee Schwebel's great-grandparents, Joseph and Dora Schwebel, to support their family of six children by selling the 40 loaves of bread they baked each day.

Schwebel's bread has been the official bread and buns of the Ohio State University Athletics Department since 2005. It remains the best-selling bread in Columbus.

“The reason that we're No. 1 in Columbus is because of the quality and because of the freshness," Lee Schwebel told the tour. "It's baked today, delivered tonight, and in your store by tomorrow."

Copyright 2012 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.

Schwebel's recipe for success includes variety -- from The Youngstown Vindicator

See the original article here: The Youngstown Vindicator



YOUNGSTOWN -- Americans have always had a love affair with white bread. It's moist, sweet and complements a multitude of foods. 

While white breads remain the biggest sellers for the Schwebel Baking Company, "It's not just white bread and buns," said Lee Schwebel, Director of Corporate Communications. Inside the state-of-the-art facility on East Midlothian Boulevard in Youngstown hundreds of different products roll off its three main bread lines.

The bakery's newest offering, prepared in its Solon baking facility, is Oatbran & amp; Fruit Bread, a delicious combination of fruit, bran, honey and spices. "This is a very different, much more complex product," Schwebel said. 

Schwebel's, a nationally recognized industry leader, markets its varied products across a 300-mile radius, is the only baker in America selected to make Cinnabon Bread and was chosen as the first supplier of authentic Jewish rye bread for Walt Disney's Epcot Center in Florida. 

"It's all about innovation -- what ingredients, what flavors, what tastes, what equipment," Schwebel said. The bakery's new fruit bread is one example of innovation with flour and different ingredients.

Inside local bakeries

Together, Schwebel's four Ohio baking centers in Youngstown, Cuyahoga Falls, Solon and Hebron generate 700,000 bread, bun and roll products every day. 

Wheat, Italian, potato, rye, pumpernickel, multi-grain and white breads travel through miles of conveyor belts on their journey from the huge vats of master dough to individual finished loaves.

Schwebel Baking Company also produces a wide assortment of rolls, buns and brown 'n serve products along with a specialty line of breakfast breads and fruit breads. For added variety, the company's Hearth Baked breads offer Old World-style products that are baked on the hearth oven rather than in pans. 

The same basic recipe created by the founders, Joe and Dora Schwebel, to shape their Jewish rye bread is still used today.

The essence of the baking process also remains the same said Schwebel. "Baking is about science, about two important things -- time and temperature," he explained. 

It takes eight hours to make a loaf of Schwebel Bread from start to finish. "Quality takes time. We don't rush the quality," he added.

Schwebel's prides itself on employing experienced, highly trained bakers, some of whom are graduates of the American Institute of Baking in Manhattan, Kansas.

Thriving in industry

The Schwebel family commitment to high standards and personal attention has enabled the company to remain ahead of the competition and effectively respond to changes in an evolving industry.

The baking industry is more trend-driven today because of consumer demands for specialty and premium breads, Schwebel said. Through improved equipment, bakeries can satisfy those requests by creating baked goods not possible 50 years ago.

"Products are a little more exotic and different because bakeries can do more with ingredients. The latest equipment allows us to make a better texture, better consistency and allows us to integrate fruits and spices into products," Schwebel said.

Because the bread industry is a labor-intensive and capital-intensive business, selecting products to come out of the Schwebel ovens entails careful research and testing. Company executives travel the country and stay abreast of industry news to determine consumer needs and desires. They also separate trends from fads, such as the short-lived interest in low-carb breads.

"Bakers have to be innovative, create products that have certain nutritional characteristics that consumers want," Schwebel said. He noted functional foods, such as bread products with omega-3 fatty acids, are becoming more popular.


Schwebel Baking Company, one of the few independent, family-owned bakeries in America, markets its products under six national franchise brands -- Roman Meal, 'taliano, Country Hearth, Sun-Maid Raisin Bread, Cinnabon Bread and Milton's Bread. 

The success of the company's Sun-Maid bread landed the contract to make Cinnabon. Schwebel's quality also caught the attention of the Disney Corporation in the early 1980s. Disney wanted an authentic rye bread for its German Village, and Schwebel rye was selected as the best in the country. 

Its customer base spans across Ohio, into western Pennsylvania, western New York and northern West Virginia served by 25 distribution centers. Within each market, Schwebel's tailors its products to consumer demands. Buffalo loves rye bread, and the Columbus area buys family breads -- white and wheat, according to Schwebel.

Today, Schwebel Baking Company is the market share leader in Youngstown, Columbus, Akron, Canton and Cleveland as well as Pittsburgh and Erie, Pennsylvania.

Schwebel Baking President Dies -- from Baking Management

See the original article here: Baking Management

Joseph M. Schwebel, president of Schwebel Baking Co., Youngstown, Ohio, died July 23. He was 73 years old.

Mr. Schwebel’s grandparents, Joseph and Dora Schwebel, created the Schwebel’s brand in 1906. Mr. Schwebel began his career at Schwebel Baking Co. in 1960 as sales manager for restaurant and institutional sales, after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Finance.

In 1981 he was named vice president of sales, and four years later became president—a position he held until his death. Under Mr. Schwebel’s tenure, the retail and wholesale range of Schwebel’s white bread expanded across Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. The company added new products to meet changing consumer tastes and acquired several regional bakeries including Millbrook Bread of Cleveland. By 2004, annual revenues reached $130 million

Mr. Schwebel also was active in the baking industry, serving on the board of directors of Quality Bakers of America and the American Bakers Association (ABA). He also was a former chairman and trustee of the American Institute of Baking. He spearheaded the joint effort of ABA and the North American Grain Millers Association to establish the Grain Foods Foundation.

“Joe was a tremendous leader of his company and the baking industry,” Robb MacKie, ABA president and CEO, said in a press release. “He also was very devoted to his family. Joe Schwebel embodied the consummate thoughtful, humble and effective leader. Joe was not only held in the highest professional respect, he was a great friend to so many people.”

Mr. Schwebel is survived by his wife, Barbara; daughter, Dorie Schwebel; son, Lee S. Schwebel; brother Paul (Dorothy) Schwebel; and two grandsons, Jack Barber and Max Barber.

Schwebel Baking produces bagels, buns, bread, English muffins, pita bread, rolls and tortillas and has annual sales of about $159 million.


Schwebel's teams up with kids magazine -- from The Youngstown Vindicator

See the original article here: The Youngstown Vindicator



BOARDMAN -- Schwebel Baking Co. is teaming up with Nickelodeon in a first-of-its kind promotion for both companies.

More than 3 million loaves of Schwebel's Giant bread are on store shelves now with a label that allows people to receive a free issue of Nickelodeon Magazine.

"This promotion gives Nickelodeon an opportunity to reach out to kids through their parents, which has always been a most effective means of getting our message across," said Michelle Piccolo-Hill, consumer promotion director for the magazine.

The magazine contains comics, sports, jokes, pranks, puzzles and features on science, history and pop culture and is aimed at children between 6 and 14.

The deal is an opportunity for the children's programming network to promote its magazine. It also allows Schwebel to be affiliated with a name brand that is well-respected across the country.

How it works

By mailing in the label, a consumer would receive a trial issue of the magazine and then 10 more issues at a cost of $1.99 per issue. The consumer can cancel the order without cost after receiving the trial issue.

The labels are on bread in all of Schwebel's territory, which includes almost all of Ohio, much of Pennsylvania and parts of West Virginia and New York.

The campaign will last until the loaves with the labels are sold, which is expected to take 10 to 12 weeks.

Lee Schwebel, director of corporate communications for the Boardman-based bread company, said he approached Nickelodeon nine months ago.

He said Nickelodeon officials and those at its parent company, Viacom, were receptive to working with Schwebel's once they understood its market territory and proposed the idea of hooking up with Nickelodeon Magazine.

Schwebel's Bakery They make a lot of bread, but workers rise to the task -- from The Youngstown Vindicator

See the original article here: The Youngstown Vindicator

Schwebel's Bakery The make a lot of bread, but workers rise to the task



TANKER TRUCK PULLS ALONGSIDE Schwebel's bakery, ready to pump flour inside and begin an eight-hour journey that will turn that flour into a loaf of bread.

On the way, flour becomes dough, which is stretched, chopped, flattened and baked.

"What grandma did in her kitchen, we're still doing today," said Mike Elenz, vice president of manufacturing for Schwebel Baking Co.

Only it all happens on a much larger scale.

Instead of one or two loaves like grandma made, the Midlothian Boulevard bakery produces nearly 180,000 loaves of bread and packages of buns each day. 

It all starts with the flour -- huge amounts of flour.

Four loads are delivered each day from ADM Milling Co. in Buffalo, N.Y. Each truck brings 45,000 pounds of flour. A hose is extended from the truck to a nozzle at the side of the building so the flour can be pumped into one of four 100,000-pound silos.

Grandma would have used a sifter to eliminate the chunks in the flour. At Schwebel's, they use seven sifters.

The flour is sucked into a sifting machine that vibrates rapidly as it passes the flour through seven screens. Each screen is more fine until it reaches the last screen, which is so fine that water would sit on the screen if it weren't being shaken.


Now it's time for the baker to become involved.

While grandma may have put in a pinch of this or a handful of that, the mixer operator at Schwebel's has a computer to make sure the proper amounts of flour, water and yeast are combined. The operator starts out with 750 pounds of flour, which is 70 percent of the total flour that will be used in the batch.

After five minutes of mixing, the operator pours out what is called a sponge into a large metal container.

At first it's a hard mixture that sits at the bottom of the container. Over three and a half hours, the sponge puffs up and becomes soft.

The rising of the dough comes from the yeast working on the starches in the flour. Each hour, the amount and strength of the acids that are produced are chemically tested.

Patience is important, Elenz said, because it is the acids and ethanol that are produced which give bread the proper flavor.

"You know the expression, 'We take no wine before it's time.' We believe the same way,'" Elenz said.


Grandma's next step would be to knead her dough to mix in the ingredients.

That's Todd Hupko's favorite job at Schwebel's.

He uses push-button controls to add the rest of the flour, water and yeast, as well as the salt and other ingredients.

This second mixer has tumbling beating arms that spin at 72 revolutions per minute. Operating it is Hupko's favorite job at the bakery.

The job is a challenge because the dough doesn't just plop out. Hupko knows just when to open the door on the side of the mixer and stop the beaters so the machine kicks the 2,200-pound mixture into the metal container on the side.

"You've got to get the timing just right," he said.

When he gets it right during a bakery tour, people cheer. If he gets it wrong, he's got to pull the mixture out.

"It takes about one year to get good at it," he said.

John Donchess, production supervisor, said the length of the mixing depends on the season because temperature affects the consistency of the batch. The dough is mixed six minutes now, but longer in the summer and shorter in the winter.

The dough is left in its large metal container for 10 minutes so it can relax. The goal is to make the dough pliable, but not so elastic that it just falls apart.

Grandma would then cut the dough and flatten it with a rolling pin.

At Schwebel's, the dough is sent on a conveyor belt to a machine that cuts it into balls, which are then sent to a different machine which flattens the dough into about a 12-inch circle.

Flattening is important because it removes gas from the dough, Elenz said. The gas is produced as the yeast works on starches in the dough.

The dough is then rolled and dropped into a pan, just before the conveyor takes it to the baking area.

Randy Blakeman of Austintown recently moved over to this part of the bakery, which is called the make-up area, from the hearth line, which bakes rye and other specialty breads.

The reason

His reason for moving was simple -- family life. He was working 14 hours to 16 hours a day in his previous job but now works from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"My wife likes that," he said.

Elenz said workers have plenty of opportunity for overtime if they want because of the long hours on the bread-baking lines. Normally, the bakery produces all day five days a week, and part-time on two days. In the summer, however, the bakery is almost always running.

Workers generally move quickly about their tasks, such as operating mixing machines, or moving the containers of rising dough. Some, however, are standing by.

"We like to get to the point where operators look like they are standing around," Elenz said. "That means things are going right."

The next step for the pans of dough is a proof box, which looks like a large oven. The box controls the heat and humidity, so the dough rises to just the right size. It takes 58 minutes.

Then the pans are loaded into an oven, and the dough is baked for between 17 and 25 minutes, depending on bread variety, at temperatures between 400 degrees and 450 degrees.

Once out of the oven, the bread begins a mile-long trek on an overhead conveyor belt. The 55-minute journey is used to cool the internal temperature of the bread from 200 degrees to 100 degrees, so it can be bagged.

Dick Banks of Boardman recently started working as a bagger on the day shift after 24 years of working the midnight shift.

For more than 20 years he worked on a sanitation crew, which cleans machines, because the schedule allowed him to coach football at Wilson and Cardinal Mooney high schools. 

"It provided me to make a good living and allowed me to coach. Coaching is my love," he said.

When he stopped coaching, he got a production job because it pays more. First, he put in two years on the midnight shift before a spot opened on day shift.

More than half of the bakery's 450 workers have more than 20 years' service.

Elenz, formerly plant manager of the bakery, seems to enjoy a good relationship with the workers on the line, joking with many as he goes around.

Banks, a union shop steward, said it's like being part of a family at Schwebel's.

"Sometimes we all get along, and sometimes we don't. Sometimes you want to grab someone by the throat, and sometimes you want to hug them," he said.

Banks works at the end of the production line. The cooled bread comes down a conveyor into a slicing machine. Once sliced, the bread stops at a machine that bags the loaf and puts on a twist tie.

Taken for distribution

Workers then put the bread onto trays, which are wheeled to a nearby dock and loaded onto trucks. The trucks take the bread to one of 25 distribution centers. In all, Schwebel's has four bakeries that serve parts of four states.

Elenz said everyone in the plant is motivated to do their best because they know the work they do one day will be on the store shelf the next morning.

"Every day we get to see our product out in the market. It's instant gratification," he said.

Schwebel's Bread Launches 'We Want Schwebel's!' Video Contest Featuring $10,000 in Prize Money -- From PR Newswire

See the original article here: PR Newswire

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio, Oct. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Schwebel Baking Company today announced that it wants fans of the famous "We Want Schwebel's!" radio commercial jingle to create their own video version of the company's popular jingle.

Winners will receive 10,000 in Cash Prizes; Grand Prize Winner to receive 5,000 cash prize.

To enter, fans are instructed to visit, and by using a digital or video camera, or cell phone camera, create their video performance of the "We Want Schwebel's!" jingle. The Web site contains rules, a how-to video, sheet music, piano accompaniment, a sample video and instructions for uploading contest entries.  

Entries for the online contest will run from October 1 - December 15, 2010. A panel of judges will select ten (10) Top Finalists based on Originality & Creativity; Technical Quality; and Adherence to Rules.  Online public voting will commence January 4, 2011 and end on February 1, 2011.  Voters will be entered to win "One Free Year of Bread". Winners will be announced February 8, 2011.

"As a result of the immense popularity of the "We want Schwebel's!" jingle over the past 30 years, we have encountered many consumers who send us their own unsolicited versions of the jingle," explains Lee Schwebel , director of corporate communications. "We can't wait to see the actual contest versions in video form. It's a fun way to celebrate Schwebel's iconic commercial and win some fantastic prizes at the same time."

Participants must be 18 years or older to submit an entry, but anyone can star in the video, such as friends and family of any age.

Complete official rules for the contest can be found at Videos will also be available via the Schwebel's Bread Fan Page on Facebook.  

About Schwebel Baking Company

Schwebel Baking Company, founded in 1906 by Joseph and Dora Schwebel , is one of the largest family-owned, independent baking companies in America, producing a variety of fresh breads, buns and rolls under the Schwebels, 'taliano, Country Hearth, Roman Meal, Sun-maid Raisin Bread, and Cinnabon brand names.  The company operates four bakeries and 30 distribution centers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and western New York.

SOURCE Schwebel Baking Company

QA Magazine Article -- Schwebel's Takes Breadmaking to Hearth

Download a PDF of the full article here: QA Full Article

At Schwebel Baking Company, it’s all about making it as good as grandma’s—literally.

“Baked today. Delivered tonight. In the store tomorrow. That’s part of our recipe,” said President Joe Schwebel.

Although the close to a million breads now baked daily at Schwebel’s are significantly greater in number than the 40 loaves that Grandma and Grandpa Schwebel baked and delivered in 1906, today’s hearth breads not only use the same oldfashioned, slow‐batch mixing process, they originate from the same starter.

From batch to batch, a portion of the fermented leaven has been reserved since origination to start the next dough; just as from generation to generation, the Schwebels have carried on the traditions and
dedication of founders Joseph and Dora Schwebel.

Through the years, the manual process has evolved to automation; the home kitchen to four Ohio bakeries; and deliveries, once made on foot from a basket, are now driven across the region by truck.

Generations have passed with the bakery now in its fourth generation of family management, but the founding Schwebel’s focus on quality, service exceeding expectations and innovation has lived on to make Schwebel Baking Company one of America’s fastest‐growing, independent wholesale bakers, and its bread an iconic brand, asked for by name in the four‐state region it serves....

Want to read the rest? Download a PDF of the full article here: QA Full Article

Heinz and Schwebel's Announce Joint Promotion



Heinz Dip & Squeeze ® Ketchup and Schwebel’s Buns Team up for Money-Saving Offer


Youngstown, OH, July 2, 2012 – Schwebel Baking Co. announced today its strategic collaboration with H.J. Heinz Company, L.P. this summer with a combined money-saving offer for consumers.

Beginning this week in supermarkets in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia, consumers will find a $1.00 off instant redeemable coupon attached to packages of Schwebel’s Hot Dog and Sandwich Buns.  With a purchase of Heinz Dip & Squeeze
® Ketchup and Schwebel’s Hot Dog or Sandwich Buns, consumers will save $1.00.


“We’re very excited about our new promotion with Heinz and their innovative Dip & Squeeze Ketchup” said Lee Schwebel, director of marketing for Schwebel Baking Co.  “All of us at Schwebel’s are proud to work with a company that is widely recognized as a timeless and iconic brand that has played a role in the lives of millions of Americans for more than a hundred years.”



H.J. Heinz Company, offering “Good Food Every Day”™ is one of the world’s leading marketers and producers of healthy, convenient and affordable foods specializing in ketchup, sauces, meals, soups, snacks and infant nutrition. Heinz provides superior quality, taste and nutrition for all eating occasions whether in the home, restaurants, the office or “on-the-go.” Heinz is a global family of leading branded products, including Heinz ® Ketchup, sauces, soups, beans, pasta and infant foods (representing over one third of Heinz’s total sales), Ore-Ida ® potato products, Weight Watchers ® Smart Ones ® entrees, T.G.I. Friday’s ® meals & snacks, and Plasmon infant nutrition. Heinz is famous for its iconic brands on six continents, showcased by Heinz ® Ketchup, The World’s Favorite Ketchup ® .


Schwebel Baking Company, founded in 1906 by Joseph and Dora Schwebel, is one of the largest family-owned, independent baking companies in America, producing a variety of fresh breads, buns and rolls under the Schwebel’s, ‘taliano, Country Hearth, Roman Meal, Sun-maid Raisin Bread and Cinnabon brand names.  The company operates four bakeries and 30 distribution centers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and western New York.


Dora Schwebel is Inducted into the Baking Hall of Fame

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January 27, 2009 - “Bakery pioneer Dora Schwebel raised six children on her own, helped feed her community during the Great Depression and built one of the industry’s most successful independent bakeries through sheer will by outworking the competition.

That’s why she is one of four industry legends to be inducted into the Baking Hall of Fame during the American Society Baking’s 2009 BakingTech conference.

The other inductees include Dale LeCrone, founder of LeMatic, Louis Kuchuris of East Balt and Louys Rumsey, an educator who started the Baking Science and Management department at Florida State University. He was an industry veteran who worked for the W.E. Long cooperative for two decades and was affiliated with the American Institute of Baking and the American Bakers Association.”

Hall of Fame Honoring Dora Schwebel

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March, 2009- “From the familiar yellow plastic bags adorned with a smiling clown face, to the appetizing aroma of fresh bread that permeates Midlothian Boulevard, near the Youngstown-Struthers border, Schwebel’s Bakery stands as a symbol of Youngstown’s history.
But the nearly 103-year-old, family-owned bakery represents much more than a long-standing Youngstown baking icon. Schwebel’s is a direct result of the courage and perseverance of one widow who refused to quit.

Even through some of the most devastating personal and economic circumstances and during an era when women were not typically running businesses and raising families, Dora Schwebel never stopped believing that her company would rise and prosper to become one of the most recognized bakeries in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.

And, just in time for Women’s History Month, Dora Schwebel’s legacy will be commemorated with her induction into the Baking Hall of Fame during the American Baking Society’s 2009 Baking Tech Conference March 1-4 in Chicago.”

Mahoning Valley Historical Society -- Dora Schwebel

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“Born in 1888, Dora Goldberg was the daughter of the shammes at the Children of Israel Synagogue. In 1906, she married her first cousin Joseph Schwebel. Together, they established and operated one of the most successful bakeries in the Youngstown area. Dora and Joseph raised six children, most of who became involved in the family business. After Joseph’s untimely death in 1928, “Ma” Schwebel, as she was affectionately known, was forced to bare the responsibility of the then tentative business venture.

With staunch dedication, Dora was able to expand Schwebel Bakery and make it prosper. Under her leadership, the business grew into a multi-million dollar venture. She was often demanding and serious in her business interactions, but donated much to the community. Her philanthropy coupled with her professional success made her a legend in her own time.

In 1964, Dora passed away at the age of seventy-six from a heart ailment. Her status made her funeral one of the largest ever seen in the Youngstown Jewish community. On August 8, 1964, 800 mourns crowded the Temple Anshe Emeth to celebrate Dora’s life.”

Teaching and Learning -- Dora Schwebel

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Teaching and Learning Cleveland Picture: Dora Schwebel with her six children (L-R): Sadie Rifkin, Frances Solomon, David Schwebel, Dora Schwebel, Irving Schwebel, Dr. Samuel Schwebel and Elaine Winick



Factory USA Tours

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Background: “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.”