The Aunt Millie’s Story
In 1991, the Perfection Biscuit Company developed a flagship brand to represent our passion for baking. We developed a spokeswoman to represent this new line of authentic, “home-style” breads – Aunt Millie. Customers readily identified her as caring, loving, and always baking something wonderful. Aunt Millie became so popular that in 2005, the company was renamed “Aunt Millie’s Bakeries.”
Today, Aunt Millie is still committed to baking the healthiest, highest quality bread possible. Many of Aunt Millie’s breads are whole grain, and ingredients are held to the strictest standards. From one generation to the next, folks are being raised on Aunt Millie’s baked goods. At Aunt Millie’s, we bake more than bread – we bake memories.
Aunt Millie’s History – Family Owned Since 1901
Aunt Millie’s Bakeries is a family-owned company headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It operates seven bakeries in three states, producing bread and other bakery products. Aunt Millie’s many brands are distributed throughout the United States, with primary distribution in the Midwest.
The company was founded in Fort Wayne in 1901, by John B. Franke, as the Fort Wayne Biscuit Company. President John F. Popp is the grandson of the founder.
Aunt Millie’s Bakeries employs about 1,600 people in Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, and Kentucky, and operates two bakeries in Coldwater, Michigan, and bakeries in Fort Wayne, Indiana; Jackson, Kalamazoo and Plymouth, Michigan; and Sidney, Ohio.
Aunt Millie’s produces baked goods including bread, buns, rolls, English muffins, bagels, and muffins.
John B. Franke founded the Wayne Biscuit Company in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Using the finest ingredients possible, the company produced Perfection Wafers (P.W. Crackers), and later breads, cakes, and cookies. Special attention was given to customer service. The goal of the new company was “perfection,” and the company was later renamed Perfection Biscuit Company.
The Perfection Biscuit Company was the first bakery in Indiana to offer wrapped bread to its customers.
Many changes occurred in the company. J.B. Franke was killed in an auto crash in 1927, and the business’ reins were soon passed to his son-in-law H. Leslie Popp, Sr. This fair and straightforward man was instrumental in introducing sliced bread to the area. He also expanded the bakery to include interstate business and new product development.
As the bakery passed its 50th anniversary, product lines were changed to meet consumer needs. The cracker and cookie lines were phased out, while emphasis was placed on developing quality breads.
In 1954, Perfection began distributing Sunbeam Bread, and in 1957 erected a mechanical Sunbeam sign on the roof of its Fort Wayne plant. This distinctive sign is a Fort Wayne landmark to this day.
Perfection broadened its scope by purchasing the Muncie Bread Company in 1961, and Schafer Bakeries in 1964. In 1965, Perfection acquired the Gase Baking Company, which was one of the first bakeries in the industry to install a pneumatic flour unloading system.
Leadership of the company passed to H. Leslie Popp, Jr., grandson of the founder, who in 1978 supervised the construction of the existing company headquarters in Fort Wayne. In 1980, another grandson of J.B. Franke, John F. Popp, was named president of Perfection, and soon afterward acquired the Way Baking Company. Perfection continued to expand into the southwest Ohio and southern Indiana markets.
A new bakery was built in Coldwater, Michigan, where Perfection moved its bun production in 1990. Also in 1990, the company was renamed Perfection Bakeries, Inc. The Aunt Millie’s fine line of breads began to flourish in 1991. The distinctive silhouette of Aunt Millie’s soon became synonymous with delicious, old-fashioned quality bread products. Realizing the national trend toward healthy eating habits, Perfection became a pioneer in the industry by introducing Aunt Millie’s Fat Free Breads.
To better accommodate the growing company, Perfection opened a bakery in Sidney, Ohio in early 1996. The Sidney facility has become Perfection’s most efficient bun bakery. Also in 1997, a secondary bakery opened in Coldwater, Michigan.
Today, Aunt Millie’s operates seven bakeries and distributes its many brands throughout most of Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. Aunt Millie’s is continuing to expand into eastern Illinois and northern Kentucky. Aunt Millie’s celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2001. Today, special attention is given to customer service, and our goal remains “perfection.” In 2005 the company opened a seventh bakery in Plymouth, Michigan, and the company name was changed from Perfection Bakeries to Aunt Millie’s Bakeries.