By Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business
Charles Entenmann, who helped to turn his family’s bakery into a baked goods behemoth, died recently, according to published reports. He was 92.
The name Entenmann is instantly recognizable to grocery shoppers around the country for its signature white and blue boxes filled with sugary confections such as cakes, muffins, cookies and donuts.
Entenmann died February 24 due to heart complications, according to his son, Charles William Entenmann. “He was an extremely generous man,” he told Long Island newspaper Newsday, adding that his father was “intelligent” and had a “fantastic sense of humor.”
“Bimbo Bakeries USA sends its condolences to the Entenmann family on the passing of Charles Entenmann,” the brand’s parent company confirmed in a statement. “Charles was instrumental in turning the Entenmann’s brand into a household name and we will continue to build on the mission and legacy his family established more than 120 years ago.”
Entenmann’s got its start in 1898 when Charles’ grandfather, a German immigrant named William Entenmann, opened his first bakery in Brooklyn. Charles grew up working there and took over the business with his two brothers in 1951, turning it into a household staple by shifting away from home delivery and supplying baked goods directly to grocery stores in the 1970s, according to Entenmann’s website.
The Entenmann brothers introduced the brand’s see-through packaging, better to entice shoppers to sample the sweets. Under their purview, the company expanded its plant in Long Island before its 2014 closure.
The bakery has changed ownership several times since the Entenmanns sold it in 1978 for more than $200 million to the Warner-Lambert Co. Current owner Bimbo Bakeries USA, a unit of Mexican multinational Grupo Bimbo, purchased the company in 2002. Entenmann’s produces more than 100 varieties of baked goods in the United States and makes 1 billion donuts annually.
Charles Entenmann was a philanthropist and regularly gave back to the community, including donations to nonprofits such as the YMCA and Seatuck Environmental Association, according to Newsday.
And although he loved what he did, he didn’t eat his company’s products. “I’m going to tell you something that’s been pretty much a secret, most of my life anyway,” his son told the newspaper. “He didn’t eat Entenmann’s cake … He just wasn’t a dessert guy.”
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