McKee Foods Corporation was founded in 1934 when O.D. McKee and his wife, Ruth (pictured above on the left), bought Jack's Cookie Company, a small bakery in Chattanooga, Tenn., and started baking small cakes. O.D. spent the previous year selling 5-cent Virginia Dare cakes from the back seat of his 1928 Whippet car. Selling sweets was how he supported his wife and three small children during the Depression, and he was confident that he could be successful selling sweets again.
This is a photo from the 1990s of O.D. driving a restored 1928 Whippet.
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This photo of O.D. and Ruth McKee, founders of what would eventually become, McKee Foods Corporation, was taken back in the 1930s.
In 1937, the McKees sought expansion by moving the plant to Charlotte, N.C. (Jack's Cookie Company is pictured above on the left.) They returned to Chattanooga in 1952, and in 1957 they moved their business to the small town of Collegedale, TN. (McKee Baking Company is pictured above on the right.) After their manufacturing plant had been expanded 13 times, a second plant was built close by.
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O.D. and Ruth’s sons (pictured above on the left) led the company for many years. Both of them continue to serve on the board of directors. Currently, the corporation is managed by four of the founders’ grandchildren (pictured on the right), representing the third generation of the family.
Since 1934, the company has seen a lot of expansion and change, but the way McKee Foods operates is still based on the principles left by O.D. and Ruth which emphasize family values and integrate those values into daily operations.
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