Since out beginning in 1920 as a thriving bakery in Jackson, Michigan, we have grown to become one of the world’s largest full-service, family-owned bakery industry suppliers. Dawn is a single source supplier to the bakery and foodservice industry providing a complete range of mixes, bases, icings, fillings, frozen and ready-to-bake products, ready-to-sell products and equipment, plus commodities, packaging, ingredients – literally everything one needs to run a profitable bakery. We know “Bakery” – it’s all we do, and we do it with 14 manufacturing facilities and 19 distribution centers in North America. We are American-owned and operated to provide friendly local service to our customers through 46 manufacturing and distribution locations worldwide. Visit our website at http://www.dawnfoods.com to contact one of our 2,600 employees near you.
All our North American production facilities are certified kosher, the majority by our OU partnership that began in 1985. We have never had a customer’s rabbi reject OU certification.
Many consumers don’t realize that our industry is inspected by organizations such as the American Institute of Baking and the Food and Drug Administration. But they do see the OU and they realize that an outside agency is certifying our facilities and look upon it as a seal of approval.
Strict vegetarians and some Islamic communities seek OU certification as well. In 1991 we began pareve production of many fillings and icings at our plant in Louisville, KY, and can now serve bakeries that produce only pareve products. Lactose intolerant consumers know that OU pareve means that there are virtually no traces of dairy allergens in the product. Rabbi Yisroel Bendelstein in New York and Rabbi Yosef Levy in Louisville assist me in maintaining the OU’s high standards.
Dawn became so famous for our donuts in 1920 that our competitors would ask for our prepared mix. Demand for our mixes became so large that we closed the bakery and opened the nation’s first mix company. Dedicated employees, outstanding products and valued customers have made our name synonymous with excellence for over 80 years. Dawn Donut Company was incorporated in 1925 to become Dawn Food Products and we expanded our product line to a complete range of food products for the baking industry.
In 1966 we moved to our new mix plant in Jackson, MI. In 1982 the acquisition of Besco Inc. (Dawn Louisville) was completed and we began producing and distributing quality fillings, icings, and glazes to the baking industry. The first addition to Louisville was a dry mix production line fashioned from the state-of-the-art technology used by Dawn to provide mixes and bases to the Southeastern United States. With great support from the OU, Louisville became kosher-certified in 1986. Customer demand increased and in 1994 we completed an expansion that doubled our Louisville capacity of both wet and dry products. Of the original 32 Besco employees, 17 of us are still serving Dawn and our customers today. Dawn’s Louisville family has grown to over 170 and our sales have increased more than ten-fold.
With the Eastern United States being serviced properly, it was time in 1985 to move west, which we did with the purchase of Baker Boy in Denver, CO, our first OU certified company. Dawn Denver provided both wet and dry products and was our first distribution center in the west. 1987 brought us our first frozen plant in Crown Point, IN, producing mainly puff pastry, danish and muffins certified OU-D. Dawn initiated international expansion in 1989 with the purchase of a facility in England producing both dry and frozen products. In 1997 we acquired Knaubs cake plant in York, PA, giving Dawn the capability to produce decorated finished cakes certified OU-D; we also acquired Mixco Internacional SA de CV in Mexico.
Construction of our newest automated Decorated Cake Manufacturing Facility (OU-D) was completed in 2001 adjacent to Dawn Atlanta Distribution. We greatly expanded our presence in the Canadian market with the purchase of CSP Foods in 2002, adding production operations in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and Etobicoke, Ontario (OU-D). We also gained sales and distribution centers throughout Canada. 2002 additionally brought us a new manufacturing location in St. Peter, IL (OU-D). 2003 added additional OU-D production in Fort Wayne, Avon and Ossian, IN as well as Taylor, PA.
Our largest acquisition came at the end of 2003 with the purchase of the bakery business of Bunge Foods, which now continues to focus on its edible oil business. Bunge’s bakery mix-related assets in Seattle, WA, Bradley, IL, and Modesto, CA were included in the sale, as were its frozen bakeries in Mexico, MO and Tustin and Modesto CA. The syrups and toppings plant in Seattle, and research and development facilities in Seattle and St. Louis, were also included.
Our second manufacturing facility in Holland was added in 2004 to increase our European capacity.
Over the years Dawn has invested in strategically located sales and distribution facilities to ensure on-time deliveries, backed by outstanding technical support and attentive customer service.
Our mission statement says, “Dawn is…an innovative, ethical, international organization with outstanding, dedicated people…the most cost-effective buyer, producer and distributor of quality food products to our customers.” This is accomplished through our “Circle of Excellence”: good people with outstanding work ethics, making excellent products, taking great care of our customers. At Dawn, we do the right thing, the right way, just because it is the right thing to do.
I’ve personally known the family that owns Dawn for over 20 years and they live and breathe this philosophy. Ethical questions are broken down to simple right or wrong answers and the family’s high standards have rewarded them with a reputation of honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness that all employees have a responsibility to protect, preserve and enhance.
Part of my personal responsibility to the Jewish community and to our other customers is to maintain the high standards of the OU to keep our products kosher. As Ron Jones, CEO of Dawn, says to our customers, “We’re here to serve you and God and to be a blessing to each other along the way.”