Charles Entenmann, builder of the baked goods empire, has died


The Entenmann name is instantly recognizable by grocery stores nationwide for its iconic white and blue boxes filled with sweet confections such as cakes, muffins, cookies and donuts.

Entenmann died Feb. 24 from heart complications, according to his son, Charles William Entenmann. “He was an extremely generous man,” he told the Long Island Newsday newspaper, adding that his father was “smart” 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 has been instrumental in transforming the Entenmann’s brand into a household name and we will continue to build on the mission and legacy his family established over 120 years ago.”

Entenmann 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 moving away from door-to-door delivery and supplying baked goods directly to grocery stores in the 1970s, according to Entenmann’s website.

The Entenmann brothers introduced the brand’s transparent packaging, better to entice shoppers to taste the candy. Under their leadership, the company expanded its Long Island plant before it closed in 2014.

The bakery has changed hands several times since the Entenmanns sold it in 1978 for more than $200 million to Warner-Lambert Co. Current owner Bimbo Bakeries USA, a unit of Mexican multinational Grupo Bimbo, bought the company in 2002. Entenmann’s produces over 100 varieties of baked goods in the United States and manufactures 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 the Seatuck Environmental Association, according to Newsday.

And even though he liked 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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