It was the turn of the 20th century. Horse-drawn carriages made their way down unpaved streets. A young sign painter, brush in hand, worked diligently on the bread advertisement he was painting on the wall of the building. As he worked, he thought to himself that he could certainly find better things to say about bread than the words he was painting. And, very soon, the young sign painter did just that.
The young man was W.E. Long. In 1900, he founded the Company that bears his name to this day — The W.E. Long Company. Long was young, enthusiastic and firmly believed in the future of the baking industry. In the beginning, Long peddled his advertising program town to town. He was successful at presenting ideas for billboards to bakers.
While traveling in New York State in 1908, W.E. Long saw the brand name “Holsum.” He inquired about the availability of the brand name and soon obtained the exclusive right to the name “Holsum” for the W.E. Long Company.
By 1909, the young painter had established his company as being a specialty house in bakery advertising. Now, the young man turned to a different aspect of the bakery business. Until this time, bread was sold without benefit of wrapper. While President Theodore Roosevelt was hunting big game in Africa, Long presented his clients with an idea. Why not be the first to sell wrapped bread? And so, in 1909, Holsum Bread was not only: “Fresh and Sweet – Good to Eat”…but, it was hand-wrapped and tied with a string.
Thus a new kind of bread was born, far surpassing any other bread on the grocers’ shelves. It was not any surprise to learn that the bread wrapped in a red and white package quickly became popular with housewives.
In looking at the overall baking industry picture, it was becoming more and more obvious that the independent wholesale baker was fighting a long bitter uphill battle against the chain and corporate bakers. Looking to the years ahead, it seemed obvious that to survive necessitated unified action, specifically at this stage in advertising and merchandising. To accomplish this, it was quite obvious that a common denominator wrapper design and brand name would have to be agreed upon and used.
In 1948, Long and another employee, William L. Goodman, began planning the Holsum Unification Program. This program had been one of Mr. Long’s earliest dreams. Under the HUP, an official Holsum wrapper was designed and introduced to the market creating one consistent image for Holsum bread. It was a combined advertising and marketing promotional package that could be used by bakers throughout the country. The production of this program was to be financed by the shared cost of combined advertising dollars of all participants. The program was called the Official Cooperative Advertising Program or OCAP.
From its humble beginning, Holsum has become known across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, as great tasting bread made with the finest quality ingredients.