Faced with existential challenges, father and son, Arthur Trausch Sr. and Arthur Trausch Jr., answered by raising their bakery business’s competencies.
Their story started in 1914, when 19-year-old Art Sr. left Luxembourg to visit America. Already a trained baker, he joined his uncle John Trausch’s Vienna Bakery in Dubuque, IA, a business with five employees and a truck. They become partners. As the business grew, the ladies behind the counter were called sweethearts by customers; thus the name change to, Sweetheart Bakery.
Growing up, Art Jr. worked all jobs at the bakery. In World War II, he fought in the Battle of the Bulge, was wounded and received the Purple Heart and three Bronze Stars, two for valor. After the war, he attended AIB in Chicago, graduating with the December 1947 class.
Under both Art Sr. and Art Jr., Trausch Baking Co. pursued cutting-edge technologies. They purchased the first commercial bread slicer, an early automated donut machine, an early bulk flour system, automated bread wrappers, continuous proof-and-bake systems & first to equip their route trucks with two-way radios. They were early into private-label bread production, complemented by strong brand building for their premium breads and buns.
A flood in 1965 dealt the company a heavy blow. When the Mississippi crested, it left 7ft of water surrounding the sandbagged bakery & though water did seep in & business was halted for months, they managed to keep the ovens dry. Art Jr. helped lead the fight for federal funds to build Dubuque’s flood wall, and the city has been dry ever since.
In 1976, a wave of bakery consolidations engulfed the industry and Art Jr. sold to Heileman Brewing Co. Inc. He was named president & elected to the Board of Directors of the Brewery. Under his leadership, the division grew from $30 million in sales to more than $125 million. He operated Heileman’s eight bakeries as if they were his own, requiring each to make a profit. In later years, the division’s assets went to other companies; however, one measure of Art Jr.’s stewardship is that the Trausch plant in Dubuque, first built in 1931 and restored in 1965, has had six different owners and is still operating today as a vital facility of Bimbo Bakeries USA.
Both men strongly supported the benefits of association, education and AIB . Art Sr. brought the company into Quality Bakers of America, and Art Jr. served on the boards of QBA, W.E.Long, Iowa Bakers Association and American Bakers Association, as well as being a 50 year member of ASB.