William Kolb was a German immigrant who founded Kolb’s bakery in Philadelphia in the early 1900s. History shows he was born in 1869 in Germany and immigrated to the United States with his family in the late 19th century. After settling in Philadelphia, Kolb began working in a local bakery to learn the trade of baking.
The Early Days
In 1906, Kolb founded his own bakery, which he named William Kolb’s Bakery. He began by baking bread in his home kitchen and delivering it to local customers by horse and wagon. As the business grew, Kolb opened a small storefront on East Girard Avenue in Philadelphia and began producing a wider variety of baked goods. Regional grocery stores later sold the bread .
Over the years, Kolb’s bakery made high-quality bread and pastries. The bakery used only the finest ingredients and traditional baking methods. Kolb himself worked tirelessly. He was and dedicated to his craft. His son, Harry, joined the family business in the 1920s. Harry developed the recipe for Pan Dandy Bread. This became one of the bakery’s most popular products.
Kolb’s bakery continued to thrive through the 20th century, even as the baking industry underwent significant changes. In the 1950s, Ward Baking Company, a major bread manufacturer based in New York acquired the bakery . However, the Kolb family remained involved in the business. Harry continued to oversee the production of Pan Dandy Bread.
William Kolb passed away in 1961 at the age of 92.
The ownership of Kolb’s bakery has changed hands several times over the course of its history. Here is a brief overview of the ownership changes that have occurred:
William Kolb founded the bakery in Philadelphia in the early 1900s.
Harry Kolb, William’s son, joined the family business in the 1920s and developed the recipe for Pan Dandy Bread.
1950s: Ward Baking Company, a major bread manufacturer based in New York acquired Kolb’s.
1960s: Ward Baking Company merged with the Continental Baking Company.
ITT Corporation later bought Continental.
1980s: ITT sold Continental Baking Company to Ralston Purina, a food and beverage conglomerate.
1995: Ralston Purina sold its bakery division, including Kolb’s, to a private equity firm called Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.
In 1997: Stroehmann Bakeries, a Pennsylvania-based bread company acquired Kolb’s.
In 2009: Bimbo Bakeries USA, a subsidiary of Mexico-based Grupo Bimbo bought Stroehmann Bakeries .
As of 2023: Kolb’s Pan Dandy Bread is owned by Bimbo Bakeries USA, which is one of the largest bread manufacturers in the United States. It is unclear the status of the Kolb’s Pan-Dandy brand at present.
- Year Started: 1906
- Year Ended: 1961
- Origin Of Name: Descriptive / Name of Founder
- Location Sales: NE United States
- Brand Name Predecessor: N/A
- Brand Name Successor: N/A
- Owner Original: William Kolb
- Owner While In Use: Several
- Owner Successor: Bimbo Bakeries USA
- Year Resurrected: N/A
- What’s Popular Today: Sara Lee
- Naics Code: 311811
- Location Headquarters: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA