Baking & Snack - October 2015 - 25

Oak State Products

Innovation in the

With its customers' SKUs in nearly every store across the country, Oak State
Products strategically manages its core competencies and keeps an eye on growth.

by Joanie Spencer
If you're a wholesale baker - especially one who's been in
business for multiple decades - you might subscribe to
the idea that the more things change, the more they stay
the same. But perhaps, as the folks at Oak State Products,
Wenona, IL, can attest, reality lies in the inverse.
Founded in 1956, the former Archway bakery turned
co-manufacturer has been in the business of contract
baking since 1994, and over two decades, the bakery
has seen the consumer trends come ... and never really
go. In fact, as far back as 10 years ago, the company was
meeting demands for health-and-wellness items, clean
labels and whole grains.
The difference today, though, is that consumers are
expecting the same functions from a host of different products that, a decade ago, didn't even exist. "Ten
years, ago, we made very few of the products we do
now," said Byron Goulding, Oak State president. And

Steve Goulding, Byron's father and the company's CEO,
summed it up quite simply. "New sells, right?"
And to meet customers' demands for the new products their consumers are clamoring for, Oak State has
invested heavily in R&D, state-of-the-art equipment,
custom-designed packaging lines and, most recently, a
20,000-sq-ft warehouse addition (including new refrigerated storage), which was completed in July and sets the
stage for future growth.

Oak State's 240,000-sq-ft
bakery, sitting on 26 acres,
provides the most jobs in
Marshall County.

Roots in the Midwest
Oak State Products is really not hard to find. All you have
to do is set the GPS for Wenona and drive until you see
the bakery's tower. The 240,000-sq-ft plant sits on the
same 26 acres it has for nearly 60 years and, like that
tower, has been a pillar in the community for just as long.
In fact, the company is still touted as the top employer in / October 2015 Baking & Snack 25

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