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Historic Timeline of Collin Street Bakery

September 25, 20193

 

 

Historic Timeline of Collin Street Bakery

 

Founded in 1896 by German baker, August Weidmann (Wideman), from Wiesbaden (Weezbahden), Germany. A young immigrant riding the railroad up from the port stopped off in Corsicana and founded his first bakery.

 

By the turn of the century, local businessman, entrepreneur, Thomas McElwee, partnered with Weidmann and began promoting the Collin Street Bakery and its products, including Weidmann’s specialty, the Deluxe Fruitcake. The original bakery was located on Collin Street, thus the name.

 

In 1906 the bakery had grown to a point where the partners decided to build a larger facility. The decision was made to build a boutique hotel on top of the business. It was the visiting dignitaries and celebrities (especially John Ringling and his circus) that we attribute to giving birth to our mail order business. Guests would typically take cakes with them upon leaving the hotel and give them to family, friends, business associates. Then those people would write Collin Street Bakery to see if they could have a cake mailed to them.

 

The business continued to grow with bread being the lion’s share of the bakery’s sales, a much larger proportion of the business than fruitcakes. However, large, regional bakeries brought stiff competition to Collin Street Bakery’s bread business which caused the bakery to move away from the regional bread business in the late 1940s and focus more on mail-order fruitcake sales. This coincided with the purchase of Collin Street Bakery from the original founding families to an investment group that included the McNutts. The new owners’ gamble on fruitcake over bread production turned out to be a good one, and the total pounds of fruitcake sold exploded from the best ever sales year of the original owners of about 65,000 pounds - to almost half a million pounds in the early 1950s.

 

In 1965, Collin Street Bakery moved into its current facility, now on 7th Avenue. The new, large scale bakery could produce up to 40,000 pounds of fruitcake a day. The Grand Opening featured Will Rogers, Jr as the Master of Ceremonies. His father was a loyal customer of Collin Street Bakery.

 

In the mid-1970s, Collin Street Bakery partnered with two other investors to build Navarro Pecan Company, the world’s largest pecan shelling operation under one roof. The huge shelling plant is located just a few minutes down the road from the bakery, to allow quick and easy access to freshly shelled pecans. Pecans make up 27% of its fruitcake, and during the season this can translate to almost 20,000 pounds of freshly shelled pecans a day.

 

In the early 1980s, the bakery vertically integrated a computer services company, Data Dallas, into the fold. Data Dallas helped with data processing and helped with the bakery’s direct mail needs.

 

In the mid-1980s, Collin Street Bakery purchased its first land in Costa Rica for its pineapple farms. That pineapple farm grew to become the world’s largest organic operation. Three thousand acres.  Over 50 million pineapples harvested annually.

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3 Comments
Added by grimmkallie@gmail.com

I love this timeline graphic, guys! ❤️ Great work!
Added by lahamilton58@cableone.net

What are the prices and sizes of the pecan cakes...no fruits!! Thank you, LuAnne Hamilton
Added by Collin Street Bakery

Thank you for your comment LuAnne! You can find our pecan cake options under the "Texas Pecan Cakes" category. We also released a new DeLuxe® Fruitcake Sizing Guide. Found here https://www.collinstreet.com/blog/deluxe-fruitcake-sizing-guide.
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