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Who Remembers…Sunbeam Bread?


Sunbeam Bread baked at New Bedford Baking Co. by Spinner Publications
Sunbeam Bread baked at New Bedford Baking Co. by Spinner Publications

Welcome to the second installment of the “Who remembers…?” series. In the inaugural article we reminisced about Virginia Dare Soda. My intention with this series of articles is not just to invoke nostalgic memories for those of us who have been “there”, but to share with the newer generation positive things that made up our childhood. Of course, sharing the area’s history is a way to not let the good things that have happened in the area pass away to be forgotten forever.

More importantly is discussion and contribution from readers. Everyone has an anecdote to share that makes these articles special. The Virginia Dare article was read, shared, commented on and liked by thousands. There was a nice sense of community. There is something about reminiscing that serves as a sort of therapy and relief from the stresses of the day. You sort of travel away in your head and leave the world behind even though for a few moments.

A Bit of History
Currently there are 40 bakeries baking Sunbeam bread and rolls across the country and even one facility in Mexico City, Mexico. The brand was easily recognized by its mascot Little Miss Sunbeam®, who was created by children’s book illustrator Ellen Segner. She was commissioned by the Quality Bakers of America to come up with a symbol that would help recognize the brand. Segner’s inspiration came from a little girl that she observed often playing in nearby Washington Square Park in New York City. Originally Little Miss Sunbeam was used on holiday packaging, but eventually used year round in some regions.

229 Coffin Avenue Today

Sunbeam Bread brand is owned by the Quality Bakers of America cooperative. The brand got its start in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1942. After World War II the brand began to grow and spread through other parts of the country. The Coffin Avenue facility was used to bake bread since 1934 so it was a natural site for baking the brand. In 1955 it was bought by the New Bedford Baking Company. In 1994 it was purchased by My Bread Baking Company, in 1996 First Citizens’ Federal Credit Union purchased it and in 1998 it was resold to St. Louis based company Earthgrains. When it closed its doors in 2005, it employed approximately 180 people. Malden-based corporation Lucar Development LLC bought the property in 2006 for $725,000.

In 2011, New Bedford Baking Company opened discussions with the city to reopen the Coffin Avenue facility and begin baking again. They figured it would take $8 million to being the building up to code, repair and purchase equipment, and get up and running. Getting the facility going again was projected to create 150 new jobs. Alas, nothing came to fruition and the property is presently still up for sale.

A Stroll down Memory Lane
I know for anyone that grew up in the area – not just New Bedford – that the simple mention of the word Sunbeam immediately invokes the aroma of freshly baked bread. Instantly you are walking or riding in the back seat of mom or dad’s car down Coffin Avenue. Any tomfoolery, goofing around or discussion came to a halt so you could partake in the pleasant aroma of bread wafting out of ovens. You could easily imagine a loaf of that glorious white bread in your hands as you give it a gentle squeeze.

The Unmistakable Little Miss Sunbeam®

Great debates were had on the best way to utilize the heavenly slices: Tuna Melt, French Toast, PBJ, emergency hot dog or hamburg bun, or just all by itself. As you drove past the facility at 229 Coffin Avenue and the aroma begun to fade, one was possessed with a way to get at some Sunbeam Bread, somehow, someway. If only we could convince mom or dad how important it was to have NOW.

I can vividly recall that momentous day at Hayden McFadden elementary that a permission slip for a field trip to Sunbeam was passed out. It was like Christmas Day came early. We all wondered what we did to deserve such good fortune! The joy however was interrupted with a dose of realism. Feet were put back on level ground. Surely a hurricane would arrive on that day! Or the Medeiros Bus Company’s drivers would go on strike. Or a doomsday asteroid would hurdle to earth wiping out our chance….and oh yeah, wiping out humanity.

Pulling up to Coffin Avenue and not having to continue on meant scores of kids walking around with noses high in the air and lots of sniffing. Seeing how the bread was made and packaged was fun, but eating fresh baked samples was a spiritual or pseudo-religious experience!

Well, that is how I remembered it as a child. As an adult, every time I drive by I still whiff the ghost aroma of the facility in full swing.

Do you remember Sunbeam bread? Have an anecdote to share? Correction to make? News about the site to share?

About Joe Silvia

When Joe isn't writing, he's coaching people to punch each other in the face. He enjoys ancient cultures, dead and living languages, cooking, benching 999#s, and saving the elderly, babies and puppies from burning buildings. While he enjoys long walks on the beach, he will not be your alarm clock, because he's no ding-a-ling.

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  1. Great article! Many things too remember regarding Sunbeam! The great smell as you drove by the plant, Mother Parker Doughnuts, the silo that was built across from the main bldg. on Collett Street. My father in law drove the tracker trailer from Collett St. to the train near the Wamsutta Mills to pick up the flour and transport it back to the silo. Many school children went on field day trips to see how the bread was made. Each child was given a goodie bag and one of the articles was a small ruler with Little Miss Sunbeam on it I think if I look hard enough I still have it today. Sad times were when the building closed down and lots of long time employees were out of a job. Also it is sad to see that empy building especially when you find out they are still making the bread but in Mexico. Thanks again for the article.

  2. You painted a common picture for many of use Elizabeth! Well said! Thanks so much for reading and sharing.

    • Man, I remember all this stuff. Hey Joe, any relation to Jimmy Silvia?

    • Eugenia Louise Hawthorne-Lopresti

      My grandfather, Eugene Bluekle, was the founder of Sunbeam bakery! He was an German immigrant and came to America at age 18, escaping the Nazi Hitler regime. I never got to meet him, he died at 48 yrs old from a massive heart attack. My mother, Mary Louise Bluekle, was his first born child, and they were very close. My grandmother Loise Bluekle, sold out to his partner after his death, leaving her a wealthy widow. I have some of his memorabilia that I cherish to this day! I’m happy his business is still running!

  3. I began working at Sunbeam in the summer of 1981. I started in the Maintenance Dept. I was a junior in highschool. It was partime, 3-7 after school and 8 hours on Saturdays. During the summer months we worked full time. In 1983 I got hired in the garage on Phillips Ave. full time. I worked there until 1994. My dad also worked in the bakery for 33 years.

    • When I got of the U.S. Air Force in 1963 I went to work at Sunbeam Bakery for a a year.Then I reenlisted back into the Air Force.

  4. Michele (Charros) Vieira

    As a child growing up in Fairhaven I remember the many meetings held in our basement but never really understood til years later exactly what it was all about. My Dad, Gil Charros worked for Giusti’s for many years but was also a Union Organizer, who along with Tony Perry from Providence, R.I. , organized Sunbeam Bakery, back in the 60’s . Yes, the aroma of fresh baked bread from Sunbeam and Giusti’s is a great memory of back home in New Bedford.

  5. Great article, brought back fond memories. I used to ride the Lund’s Corner bus from Purchase St. to normandin Jr. High in the mid 50’s. You are right on that the sounds of the bus stopped when the sroma of baking bread first could be detected. I started the day waiting for the bus across the street from Guisti’s and was just able to survive without the baking bread smell until we arrived at Coffin Ave. that held us till we disembarked at Lund’s Corner for the walk up Tarkiln Hill Rd.

  6. Did you know that Sunbeam bought out a bakery in Delaware and that is where little miss sunbeam came from? Her real name is Sally Ann, she was the daughter of my grandfathers partner. My mom told me the stories of her daddy’s bakery and how the search for communist got him black listed by a competitor, so they had to sell. The bakery was delivering to most of Delaware by the time Sunbeam bought it!

    • I remember well the school field trips to the bakery, and the samples were oh so good :). Years later I spent 12 years living in the neighborhood on Collette Street and the aroma of the fresh bread baking was so awesome, esp on Sunday mornings.We had many family members employed at the bakery over the years to. But my fondest memories of Sunbeam Bread is the fact being that my oldest sister was in the actual contest to be named lil Miss Sunbeam she came in as the 1st runner up. I have my mothers original photographs of my sister at the ribbon cutting ceremony being held my Mr Duschane.

  7. When the wind was blowing from the east, it smelled like heaven in our backyard on Coffin Avenue above the boulevard. My Dad worked there part time and would bring home warm bread on occasion.

  8. I remember going there on fieldtrips as a kid. You would always get a goodie bag with various items in it like combs, rain bonnets, balloons and of course the paper hats. There was nothing like the smell of the bread baking. My father-in-law worked for Sunbeam driving tractor trailer for over 40 years.

  9. You’re right, the smell on the Ave was great when walking by the factory. I aslo remember going to the Thrift Store on Coffin Ave near Brook St.

  10. When I was growing up my grandmother had her resteraunt right across the street from sunbeam bread in new bedford. I have so many great memories of going inside the factory and watching as they would make all kinds of bread. We thought it was great always leaving there with a bag of goodies and it never got old or boring no matter how many times we went. The aroma of fresh breas I can still remember that smell like it was yesterday. Great article to bring back great memories.

  11. I grew up on No. Front St. a couple of blocks from Sunbeam Bakery. The smell of the fresh bread is one of my favorite childhood memories. By today’s standards, it probably wasn’t a very healthy bread but it sure tasted great. It made the best grilled cheese sandwiches. I also remember cutting out the center into a circle and flattening it to pretend it was Holy Communion.

  12. The bakery was called Sunbeam AFTER it was The My Bread Baking Company. The article has the dates and names of purchase incorrect. It was My Bread Baking company when my father began working there in the early 1940’s. Pictures which have been posted previously confirm my statement.

      • Thanks Joe now I know how much I miss back home.Just keep doin what your doin it’s great. Thanks again

      • Arthur Martin JR

        Hey Joe great article. My Father and my God father both worked for My Bread Company all there working life’s. My father had the Cape Cod Route from Fairhaven to Provience Tow
        N My God Father Had the route up Boston way. How I loved Summer’s go to work with dad and Mother Parker Doughnuts My fathers name was Arthur Martin And my God father name was Tony Martin born in North Fairhaven I had the best child hood . After My Bread dad worked for Continetal Screw Co in New Bedford dads family had 13 Children born and raised onAdams St NF then we moved to California I thank God for my childhood and Being Portugueese i.e. Azores the peak! My mothers side of the family in Fairhaven had your last name? Now I’m 69 one of 6 children but Joe I can tell you love your culture as I do thank you for bringing up the good days of my life in MA u touched my souls! Gods Blessings!!!!

      • Hi, I worked in the Boston branch from 1973-1999. Route sales and sales supervisor. It was My Bread until 1992. Sold multiple times after. The Duchaines lost money in 1991, had to give it up.

    • My Bread Baking Co was started by my Great-Grandfather Henry Duchaine and his brother Joe. I have pictures somewhere of the both of them and the horse-drawn bread truck. Joe eventually bought out Henry, and in time got into Sunbeam corporation. …and the rest you know.

  13. I worked at sunbeam for 22 years as a salesman and now work for the current owner of the propety, This family had a great vision for the old Sunbeam which sorry to say never came about! they tried so hard to get a baker in there for over 8 years now and have now unfortunatly the building is up for sale once again.

    • Jacqueline Edwards

      My dad worked and retired from Sunbeam bread. I remember when we were kids we lived near the Sunbeam bakery and we used to go in there all the time to visit my dad.. They would give us Hot Cross Buns and donuts. This was before the new insurance policies were put into effect. We used to go to Gaudettes for the Sunbeam bread family outing every summer for a clam boil. We used to have sack races and other games. We had so much fun. Such great memories.


      • I remember the clambakes too. My Dad worked and retired from Sunbeam too as the Fleet supervisor. It was a grand place to go and get fresh Mother Parker doughnuts right out of the fryolater. Dad used to bring bread home and call it tomorrow’s bread. We always had the freshest bread. They were good to him.

  14. Thanks for sharing Andy. I know a lot of people would love to experience that aroma again. I’d love for my daughter to have that experience.

    • Love what you are doing. I lived in the South End as a child and all grammar school classes had and outing to the Bakery and came home with a bag of goodies which included a nice fresh loaf of Sunbeam Bread.

      Sunbeam bread was the only bread my grandmother would eat. So through the years I purchased lots and lots of loaves for her.

      Thanks for the memories

    • I wish the recipe for Mother Parker Doughnuts and Sunbeam Bread were handed over and continued for people to enjoy today. Those donuts were the best!

  15. i work there for a long time I’m the guy who made sure all them trucks were clean bread trucks tractor trailer and all the cars thats what i did there so i had a lot to do and i wish they were still there today miss the bread and mother parker dough nuts

  16. I grew up on Bullard and Deane Streets and the smell of baking bread was one of the joys in that neighborhood. As an immigrant, I thought that bread was the height of being “American”. My mother would never buy it though, as we ate the dark, heavy rye from the Polish bakery. One day she surprised us all by bringing it home. We devored it, slathered with butter, feeling like the rest of our friends. Remember the commericial for it where they said it was so finely milled that you could rip it straight down the middle without it tearing? We tried that too and it worked because TV always told the truth.

  17. The best thing I remember was the artist, (Naggar was his nick name), who painted (freehand, using only tiny marks to make the design), the trucks, buildings and signs. I was fortunate my dad rented him garage space, so I could watch him work! He was amazing and probably led to helping me decide to become a graphic artist.

    • Anne, do you mean Jim ‘Zaga? He was my uncle. His older Brother Steve was also an artist (side work) and retired from My Bread.

  18. John Baptista Jr

    I was born on Coffin Ave and my grandparents lived at 193 Coffin Ave. As a child returning to New Bedford I could remember the smell from the bakery. My grandfather was one of the first on the feast committee. All of my uncles, and as well cousins and myself have been committee members. My father John Baptista was instrumental in setting up the Portuguese museum. Although the town is not now what it once was, it is home!

    The building on the corner, across from the park, had an old street sign, made of wood, for Coffin Ave. It hangs now in our guest room! Last time we were back you could see where the sign hung.

    Great memories!

  19. I lived on Coffin Ave right across the street from Sunbeam 3 houses up from Belv. Ave. My father Carl worked there.I remember when they made the white powdered donuts. There would be a pk outside my door when I came home from school. I think everyone loved the smell!!

  20. Hi Joe
    If I remember correctly, the sales person was behind a window. It was a very tiny clean store. Sometimes one of the bakers, with the paper white boat hat, behind the window. I remember going into the little Coffin Ave. store of Sunbeam bakery with my mom or dad and getting a fresh, just baked, warm loaf of Sunbeam Bread and box of plain donuts. Also sold there was Vienna Bread and raisin bread….other favorites. Thats where we purchased our bread. The donuts were really large, not like packaged donuts on the market today. They were delicious toasted. The bread was so fresh, and delicious, I would always take out a slice and eat it on the way home. A treat was putting butter on the bread, sprinkled with a bit of sugar. The aroma from the bakery was a ‘hallmark’ of the old good “New Bedford’ days. Families worked very hard for their money. Life was simple, and the best days of my life. Thank you for the memory.

  21. My dad worked there over 25 years he use to run the dough machine. He always use to bring bread and donuts for us every day. I really miss that place i loved their bread!! We use to go visit there all the time. We lived right across from there on Collette street and use to LOVE smelling the bread 🙂

  22. My Dad, Red Forgues worked at Sunbeam all his life–starting by working inside and eventually became a salesman with routes in Providence, the Cape, Fall River and finally Fairhaven. I can remember going with him on his route in the summer and being so excited to be delivering Sunbeam bread with my Dad. When he had his route in Fall River, he would load up the family car on Sunday morning with rolls for Nick’s Hot Dogs so they wouldn’t run out and my brothers and I would fight to see who would go with him. Also remember those great clambakes at Gaudette’s and the silver dollars you would get if you won a race! My uncle worked there and my brother also– it was a good place to work but the best was going on the tours and if you were really lucky getting a nice warm Mother Parker donut!!

    • Your other brother worked there part time…that was me! I worked in the little store for a couple years part time during high school and then over the summers giving breaks. I worked many of the jobs giving breaks including as a watchman. I remember being alone in that huge building over the holidays. The down side of working there was that you couldn’t smell the bread! The photos and comments bring back memories…

  23. you know the bums that bought out sunbeam are now gone lol I’m glad there gone they cheated there works even stole there retirement now lap ages make sunbeam bread its not the same but i think of the guys i worked with i hope there all doing ok they were a good bunch of guys sunbeam might be gone but in our harts its still alive and well r taylor SABATTUS MAINE

    • Best English Muffins known to man. I worked for a competitor,but,Roy is right when he says it was taken over by IBC which just let a reputable business slowly rot away. That was the beginning of the end of baking companies in the New Bedford area. Too bad.

  24. the building is still there on Coffin Ave and the other side is Phillips ave.It is below Accushnet ave and right at North Front street.Their resale store was on Collette Street above Ashley Blvd.

  25. I think Sunbeam was the best bread. I was totally surprised when I found Little Miss Sunbeam in a Public Supermarket in Florida this past winter. Not quite as good as the original ,but I still enjoyed every slice.

  26. I lived on Coffin Ave. north of Ashley Blvd. growing up and my dad ( Mickey Dyer) worked part time at Sunbeam. That wonderful aroma would come up the street all the time.

  27. I remember field trips there as a girl scout and we would leave with a fresh loaf of bread, a box of doughnuts and some plastic trinkets, I think a ring and a few other things. Oh the smell of that place was so wonderful. Never forgot that place.

  28. Rita Norcross Labens

    We still see Sunbeam bread up here in Vermont! I loved the smell of fresh baked bread. I recall driving into the store parking lot…enough for two vehicles to park, there were always tractor trailers there……and buying the Mother Parker donuts! They came in a window box, pale yellow in color and flip top and there were a dozen plain donuts, ok….where is that cup of coffee?
    What about king of pizza? Is that still alive? Linguica pizza! No such thing as linguica up here!

    • King of Pizza was the best pizza in New Bedford, I miss a lot about New Bedford. Was there last April, and was surprised to see that it has not changed all that much, but a lot of the food I remembered did change a lot, and I was very disappointed about that.

  29. Hello Yes I remember Sunbeam Bread! My Grandma lived right around the corner from the Sunbeam Bakery! When I was small she would walk me around by the bakery when I would visit. Ohhh Did it Smell Great! I would make Mom by Sunbeam every time she needed bread! When Sunbeam closed up in Sandusky, Ohio, I was devastated. I saw a Sunbeam door opener at one of the local little stores I begged the gentleman if he could sell me that door push. Unfortunately he would Not sell that sign. I did find Sunbeam bread at my local Krogers store and boy that bread tastes just like I remember…. Thanks For Bringing me back to my Grandmothers Time Maybe around the 1958 time!

  30. Loved it!!! I remember the smells! Yummy

  31. I just found the Sunbean pencil sharpner….and the ruler, stays in my knitting bag!
    Lived just around the corner and the smell of fresh bread was a memory never to forget! and yes, field trips were the best…..I can so remember the front office area when you first walked in the building.

  32. I was one of the last of the 180 to walk out the doors on the day of closing..great place to work..great coworkers and will always have a place in my heart.

  33. I remember Sunbeam. I lived must of my life in the North End. My Dad worked there from 1946 until he retired in 1966. He worked on the ovens, and he brought home fresh bread, but I always liked the Mother Parker Donuts the best. As everyone else remembers, the aroma was THE BEST.

  34. The aroma around the plant was wonderful. The school tours were terrific. Their best products were the donuts and the English muffins. The bread was mostly air; batter whipped was another way of saying “not much wheat”…not sure how healthy it was for people. Worked one summer on a truck. It was dreadful. Don’t know how those guys survived, especially with a “company” union. Nevertheless, with the present emphasis on whole grains and gourmet breads, it is a shame the plant sits idle…good article!

  35. My dad started there at 16 and worked his.way.up.to.boss use love visiting him.snd only.sad part.was.he work ed during day so.he missed all.my school.stuff when.they.shut.down.he was laid.off.now.has work.in.malden.should open bakery.up.its just.sitting there n.think.about all jobs my.husband.needs one friends.pplwithout college n.highschool diplomas

    • janet rousseau labarge

      My grandparents lived directly across the street at 232 Coffin Ave. My father worked there after graduating from high school. He used to arrive there at about 4AM to load his truck #5. He was enamored by my mother’s good looks and used to stand on the truck and serenade her (I doubt the neighbors appreciated that). They did marry and I was fortunate enough to be enveloped in that fabulous smell of baking bread. I recall my memere Leclair buying unbaked dough to deepfry.That was a grand treat. I also remember Red Forgue coming to our house to visit. Many young men of the family worked there in different capacities. When my father retired after 40 years they retired #5 . Thanks for the memories.Fun to remember long lost youth

  36. I was in a contest in the early 1950’s to represent Little Miss Sunbeam. I posted a photo of my contest entry on facebook today and have had a lot of fun researching Sunbeam Bread to see what had happened since then. I remember that people had to vote for the winner and I didn’t win, but I sure thought I looked a lot like her. 🙂

  37. Charles Asplund Sr.

    I remember The Reymond Baking company in Waterbury, Connecticut was our local Bakery that made Sunbeam Bread. They closed sometime in the 70’s or 80 I think. We still get Sunbeam bread, but it is now made by a different baker.

  38. I was wondering if one of the Sunbeam Bread’s Miss Sunbeam was from VA? I think she might have known my dad and wanted to see if I could get in contact with her, this would have been over 30-40 years ago. Any help would be great. Thanks

  39. My father (Janet’s uncle), Art Leclair started washing trucks at Sunbeam as a very, young boy. He continued working there, eventually along side of his two brothers-in-law, until his retirement some 60 years later.

    He always spoke reverently of the original boss, “Joe” Duchaine. A kind-hearted man who helped many other businesses get started (I think Fairhaven Lumber many have been one), he eventually handed over control of the bakery to his son, Paul. Under Paul’s watch, every aspect of the bakery was kept “white glove” clean. The trucks were washed daily and the bakery floors were polished to a mirror shine.

    I was so sad when the Duchaines sold the bakery. It was a special place and the people who worked there were special people. For years I’ve harbored a secret dream of moving back to New Bedford and returning the bakery to all its former glory. It would be a true labor of love.

  40. I remember goin to Sunbeam,very early in the mornin to pick up cardboard,That’s how I met Tom Watkinson.He was a funny man tell jokes and such while we loaded the truck. I miss him he is such a nice man,brought me into THE EAGLES as a member.we had such good times there.Tom I hope we can talk sometime your a good person.Thanks Mark

  41. Sunbeam always advertised their bread as “batter whipped” which is why it didn’t have any holes in it. When I was 6 or 7 (many moons ago) Sunbeam ran a contest…..if you could find a hole in their bread bigger than the head of a pin, you would win free bread. We always bought Sunbeam, and don’t you know we opened a loaf that had a hole through several slices about the size of a pencil eraser. I remember they gave us so many free loaves of bread we had to put some in our grandmother’s freezers because we didn’t have enough room for all of it in ours.

  42. Oh, how I hated Little Miss Sunbeam! She was so blonde and so pious–everything that I was not. Remember the billboard with the slogan “Not by bread alone”? My father worked for Giusti’s, and we were not allowed to have either Sunbeam Bread or Wonder Bread in the house. One day my father brought home a loaf of the new batter-whipped Sunbeam Bread so we could test it out. Yes, it was possible to tear it straight down the middle. We didn’t see that as a good thing. How strange that the annual Sunbeam parties were held at Gaudette’s. Gaudette’s Pavillion was one of my father’s customers, and I’m sure they served Giusti’s Bread, although they probably made an exception for that occasion. But to a dark-haired little girl growing up way back then, Little Miss Sunbeam was the enemy.

    • Nancy..My dad also worked at Giusti’s…in fact was a minority owner, clerk of corporation, and sales supervisor. I think if you’re Dad was named Eddie (if I recall) he was one of my Dad’s drivers. My grandfather was one of the original owners when they first started business. (Minor, minor owner) John Giusti and I believe his brother were the 3 partners….as the Guisti family grew larger and larger they had even more shares in the company . My grandfather’s shares passed on to my Dad, and he bought even more as the years went on, but never anywhere near what “the family” owned and controlled. We TOO could never have a competitor’s product in the house, but contrary to what has been stated here, I believe we had a better product, even when it switched to Bunny Bread. (and the donuts were better than Mother Parker’s. Dad passed in 1996 and had been retired for awhile. Nissan out of Portland Maine bought them out, and who knows who bought Nissan. So much consolidation and really none of it for the better. I can’t remember WHEN it was sold and I don’t know anybody who might know or remember. But I too remember the aroma of the fresh bread being baked, and Dad bringing home tomorrows bread today. He was a 100% white bread person…Mom…cracked wheat.. and me Scotch Oatmeal…Good memories, but unfortunately with age a lot of them are a little cloudy.

      • Cathy Giusti Potter

        I remember driving along with your dad in a bakery truck, dressed as a “bunny girl”
        (but not in the Hugh Hefner Playboy sense of the word), to a market outside the city, where we were introducing the newly-branded “Bunny Bread.” This was one of my very first jobs (nepotism 🙂 at the very young age of 16 and your dad was so considerate and understanding as I attempted (in a very shy way) to encourage shoppers to try Bunny bread. I have fond memories of the Giusti Bakery and the many terrific people who worked there. At this time my dad, Joseph Giusti, was running the bakery, and I have to agree with Nancy Couto that Sunbeam was the arch rival.

  43. when I was a kid my class would take a day trip there I miss that place
    # livin life

  44. I remember Sunbeam bread that was baked in Waterbury, CT. At one time the bread had air holes in it from the rising dough. Then I remember the time when they advertised no more holes and the bread was absolutely wonderful, soft and, tasty. I used to enjoy pbj on white Sunbeam bread with a coke after arriving home from grammar school several times a week. I currently have a loaf of white Sunbeam Bread (7/19/14) and it is nothing like I remember. I wish it would come back the way it was. The current product is bad!!! BRING BACK THE SUNBEAM BREAD WE USED TO KNOW AND LOVE!!!!!!

  45. Little Miss Sunbeam is 1 year older than me so she has been around all my life. I built a soap box derby in the mid 50’s sponsored by Sunbeam and had her famous picture on both sided of the Derby which was painted Sunbeam colors. Have been a fan of Sunbeam bread products and still favor the products when grocery shopping. Oh, by the way, my father was a route salesman and I was his helper on Saturdays and during summer months.

  46. Just love reading the above

  47. Do you know of any promotions held by Sunbeam bread where small loaves of bread were dropped from a small airplane. A small parachute was attached to each loaf. As a kid in the 1950’s I remember a special promotion in Bethlehem PA but can not find any documentation on line.

    • Just so you know, my grandmother was telling me today about mini loaves of Wonder Bread falling from small airplanes in Texarkana, Arkansas in the late 1950’s. I cannot for the life of me find anything else about this aside from your comment. I just want to let you know, you are not alone..

  48. I worked at NB Baking Company while attending college in Fall
    River at Bradford Durfee College. My last day there was the day JFK was killed.

    • Mother Parker’s Donuts..wow, I remember my Ma bringing them home and busting them open on a Saturday Morning. kind of a Plaid yellow tablecloth colored rectangular window box with Blue Print?.., I think they were stacked in three’s ? -3 Plain, 3 powdered ,3 cinnamon, and 3 more Plain..? And Sunbeam Bread…What a Loss. I grew up a couple of blocks near the “Friends Beans” Plant a couple of Miles north of Boston, but we always had Sunbeam, and Ma Parker’s Donuts, -depending on the wind, you always knew what business was cooking what…those were the days.

  49. Yes I won little miss Sunbeam back when I was about 5 yrs old. My mom always put my hair up and I was a blond curly haired little. Girl.

  50. Dad worked at My Bread for Many years, driver salesman, had a Cape route and a Fall River route. I worked summers during the 60’s. Was working when My Bread switched loaf wrappers from wax paper to plastic bags.

  51. Great loved reading this and will be looking for Sunbeam in my local store(s) from now on.

  52. My father started working at the plant in New Bedford, then Cranston, and then in Warwick when they moved there. He was the head mechanic and would sometimes have to go out in the middle of the night (sometimes in a snowstorm) if one of the trucks broke down.

  53. Irene Mozakis-Macdowell

    I enjoyed the article about Sunbeam Bread and the bakery. I, too, have incredible fond childhood memories as my late father (he was a heart transplant recipient) was a Sunbeam Bread Salesman, eventually was able to own his bread truck for his truck route in San Antonio many years ago. My father, John Mozakis, (my immediate family is full-blood Greek) was American born, but was raised in a small village, Sitia, on the island of Crete, Greece, lived simply, however was proud to become the top salesman. He was very outgoing, charismatic and a handsome young Greek man. Actually, when my father began with the bakery in San Antonio, Texas it was family owned and called “Mrs. Bohnet’s Bakery.” At some point, the bakery was sold and became Sunbeam Bread Bakery. My fondest memories were to ride with my father on Saturday in his bread truck (way before seatbelts were a must for children) when he would at times need to make a run to the bakery in downtown San Antonio for a customer or two that were needing bread on the weekend. Also, my father would have packages of powdered and chocolate donuts in addition to cinnamon buns and when he would come home, sometimes (not all the time) he would allow me and my two brothers to have a treat from the back of his Sunbeam Bread truck. It was a great, big treat for us kids. Of course, the one and only great memory of the bakery was walking through it and the intoxicating aroma of the baking bread!!! Last, but not least, Little Miss Sunbeam! What a darling she is and a pretty sight for the eyes to admire and have a good chuckle!!!

  54. Irene Mozakis-Macdowell

    Long live the legacy of Sunbeam Bread and Little Miss Sunbeam!

  55. Does anyone remember Sisson’s Donuts at the top of Kempton St? Best donuts! Started making them around midnight. You could go in and buy them from the guy frying them right behind the counter.

    • Judy – I remember because my Grandfather started the business and my Uncle Eddie took over the business. My dad, Don Sisson, helped him out in the mid-70’s. Unfortunately the recipe is long gone. I moved away when i was only a few years old but we had donuts every time we went back for a visit.


  56. Back in 1996, First Citizens’ Federal Credit Union didn’t buy the bakery. By unanimous vote the members of the Sunbeam Credit Union voted to merge into First Citizens’FCU.

  57. Is this the same company that did the billboard advertising “Come Back Home, Joe?”, in the 50’s?

  58. I have an old factory roll of Davidson’s Sunbeam bread wrapper. It’s about 8″ in diameter. Probably enough to wrap 100s of loaves. I don’t know how big it was when it was new. I got it from my dad who apparently got it from his dad. I’m guessing his dad probably had since sometime in the 1950s. They’re both deceased now and I have no idea how or why my grandfather would have a roll of Sunbeam bread wrapper. I should have asked when I had the chance. It’s just an odd item for anyone to have.

  59. In the real olden days you could buy fresh dough to take home. Mom would fry portions. It was a Sunday night treat.

  60. Isabelle Livramento

    Sunbeam Bread was the greatest “invention” .Unfortunately when I went to school there were absolutely no class trips to the Bakery because it did not exist. But later on I remember the delicious smelling aroma of baking bread. and the truck delivery. What we liked most was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, plain buttered and of course my cousin Anna loved to spread white sugar on the bread slightly wet it with water. It sure was GOOD to her.Sunbeam Bread actually was a treat because in my family both my father and mother always made homemade bread and delicious rolls daily. My husband’s nephew worked many years for the company as a driver salesman, had a New Bedford/ Cape route, I believe. Greatly enjoy reading the comments and the memories of your readers. Excellent article.

  61. Alex Desrosiers

    My Dad worked at (and later managed) this plant for a long time, and it shutting down forced my family to relocate from Acushnet to Orlando in 2004. I have far too many memories of this place to put down here, but this was an awesome trip down memory lane. Thanks for the article.


  62. Hi Joe, I worked at Sunbeam from 1981-1994 in the garage. I belive it was My Bread Baking Co. long before 1994. It was a great place to work. My dad retired there after 33 years. Great story you did.

  63. I have the Sunbeam Baker Teddy Bear (has a bakers hat, apron, Sunbeam shirt and red kerchief around his neck ) and was wondering if Sunbeam was still in business … then I read this Lots of memories sounds like everyone enjoyed working there. sls7144@yahoo.com

  64. My mom was a winner in California for little miss sunbeam, can’t find pictures

  65. Talk about a trip down Memory Lane! My dad, Rene Prudhomme, was a driver-salesman there until I was 8 or 9, I guess ; that would be the mid-50’s. I remember Joe Duchaine and Red Forgue (Geralyn, I remember you too. Back surgery, right?), visits to the bakery w my dad (you could get the baked bread before it was sliced), Gaudette’s for the clambake – one year there was a day-long boat ride instead. (In those days, Gaudette’s was THE place for wedding receptions.).sack race, wheelbarrow race, etc. I could go on and on. And best of all, the smell. That fantastic smell. Both my husband and I lived in the north end – I think that aroma was a part of our courtship!

    Thank you so much for the article and the wonderful memories it evoked. Those years were the happiest ones of my youth.

  66. What was the name of the round Chocolate dessert that Sunbeam made, it was chocolate cake with a creme filling and a hard chocolate frosting, Called something like Dipsy??

  67. Would make for some much needed apts. there now, I’d sign up immediately, seeing as how I grew up on that same street.

  68. Does anyone remember the Christmas sing along sheets that Sunbeam printed and gave away at stores at Christmas time? Just a fond memory and would love to see one again. It had all the popular songs with the words printed like a newspaper

    • Denise Schwierjohn

      Oh…..I remember these singalong sheets!! Silver Bells….the lil drummer boy and good king winslaus!! Green and white!! I think my sister still has one!! Miss those days!!

  69. My father worked for them in the late 50’s and had to quit when they went to the batter whipped formula.
    A very processed bread after that point and told us a product called microband I believe he said was used in it and he became very allergic to it and the very dusty flour that was used in making it forced him to quit working there for health reasons! They have announced the Fort Wayne, In bakery will be closing in March 2018. I’m wondering what became of the batter whipped formula they used? Dad also said they had to spray vitamins on the loaves because it was so processed!!!

  70. I used to work at this industrial bakery way back in 2001. this place had modern machines but the space was old and made the work hard. It was hot like hell and very loud. Sad to see 200 people lost their job, they actually payed OK considering everything.

  71. I worked out of the Dorchester plant for 10 years my first route was in Fitchburg, 2nd was on the north shore, Beverly, Danvers miss that job

  72. Do you have information on the girl on the bread wrapper? I believe I may have some.

    • Hello Karen! I may know of the girl who was Little Miss Sunshine! The Reminisce Magazine just ran an article on this subject, so I Googled! I knew a very lovely lady of blonde hair and light blue eyes, now deceased, whose name is/was Mary Elizabeth Okenica of Johnson City NY. Her dear Mom used to wear her hair up like the little child! Are you Mary E’s sister Karen? I use the computer and cell phone to email relatives, and am 87 now. Unsure what Website means.

      Lovingly, Aunt Eleanor Gallagher Hudson, Maggie O’s sis!

  73. Where did the recipe for holeless bread come from? I have heard it was purchased from a man in North Carolina.

  74. great company, good coworkers and supervisors at new bedford MA plant from 2000-2001. great people hard-working . It was a good work place for many people in new bedford, these jobs were a lifeline for many including my family. It is sad such opportunities do not exist for people today. I was in highschool when i worked here and still remember many people with a lot of respect for all of them. thank you good of new bedford sunbeam.

  75. Joe,
    When I was a little kid back in the late 40’s, I once sat all day long on a curb in the south end of New Bedford watching a billboard painter and his assistant paint Little Miss Sunbeam biting into that slice of bread. I was riveted watching the image slowly being revealed. The artist was Joe Martin. The assistant painted in the large background color while Mr. Martin worked from a master drawing he held in his hand. This small illustration was all squared off as was the large expanse of billboard before him. This is how he “enlarged” it. It was a marvel to watch the image develop. To me he was a Rembrandt of the skies. The experience stays with me yet as I pursue my illustration and cartoon work as I have for the last 63 years. The first time I had ever watched an artist at work was that day I spent watching Joe Martin. He always signed his work and I would see other billboards around town signed by him.

  76. I didn’t know about Sunbeam bread until I was an adult. But where I lived in my late teens and early tweens, Fort Worth, TX, we had the double whammy of driving on I-35W which passed within a few tens of yards of the Mrs. Baird’s Bakery where the aroma of fresh bread made me wish for a stick of softened real butter to slater on a slice. Again and again. Of course at highway speeds, even at Rush Hour (“Do you understand the words that are comin’ outta my mouth?”) the aroma would fade quickly, only to be replaced by the heavenly smell of malted barley being turned into The Miller Brewing Company’s “Miller High Life” beer! Those are two aromas that an 18 to 20 something year old could really get behind.

    Once, with nothing to do, and nowhere to be, I drove past the two companies and enjoyed the aromas so much that I exited at the first possible exit, turned around and got back on the elevated highway to drive past then both again.

    However, the best field trio of my life happened much earlier in early elementary school when I lived in a place called Dairy Valley in southern California. Our class got to go on a filmed trip to a nearby Foremost Dairy. We saw holstein cows and learned about how much milk each could make, we were too young to wonder about the calves whose milk they were taking, and we learned about Louis Pasteur and Pasteurization and saw the great pipes carrying the milk from the milking machine attached to the cows udders all the way to settling tanks, pasteurizing tanks and in to cooling tanks and bottling machines. Then we were all hauled outside with our themed lunch pails to eat the lunches our mothers made and drink as many little (now teensy) cartons or white milk as we could. But we could only have one carton of chocolate milk each. That lead to a certain amount of black (or should I say brown) market milk trading. Then back in the bus and back to school to learn about less exciting things than “No, chocolate milk dies not come from brown cows.”

    Happy memories to all and to all a good nap!

  77. I know a former Sunbeam girl who lives in Tucson, Arizona.
    She was a SG when she and her parents lived in Portland, Oregon.
    At the time her father worked at the Franz Bakery in Portland.
    They had a contest and little Maria won.

  78. Susan cormier Coleman. As I recall a contest was created to find little miss sunbeam. Must have been around 1952. Little girls including my older sister Carole competed. She was runner up to the winner and the story I was always told was Carole was runner up because didn’t smile in the photo. We still have that photo somewhere.

  79. This story brought back memories of my childhood. Every summer we would come from New York to see family. My parents were both born in New Bedford. My grandparents lived on Phillips Avenue. I remember walking up Phillips pass the sunbeam bakery and taking in the aroma of freshly baked bread.
    It was like being in heaven. Still remember than smell.

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