Our History
McKee Foods Corporation History

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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O.D. was a visionary, always looking  for new and better ways of doing things.  New products and new equipment were  his areas of expertise. His creative drive  and passion for the future made him a  risk taker. Fortunately, Ruth’s cautious  nature and sound judgment helped  keep him grounded. The combination  of their personalities created a perfect  balance of vision and structure that led to  tremendous success.


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.

Today, Little Debbie® snacks, America’s number one snack cakes, are manufactured in  Collegedale, Tenn.Gentry, Ark., and  Stuarts Draft, Va. McKee Foods also has a distribution center in  Kingman, Ariz. We also manufacture products under the following brands:  Sunbelt Bakery®Drake’s cakes® and  Fieldstone Bakery®
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