Clyde’s Donuts Expands Into The Future

It’s time to make MORE donuts.

Clyde’s Donuts has kicked off its new manufacturing space, along with a new logo and slogan, in a glaze of glory. This Addison-based 4th-generation family-owned and -operated business of 96 years makes donuts and fritters, which are sold through private-label, retail, and contract customers. At a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on February 19, Clyde’s officially celebrated the launch of its new brand and facility expansion. The 4th production line and expanded freezer space bring the total facility area to 104,000 square feet. “The expansion was based on our success with our current customers,” explains Kim Bickford, CEO. “We focus on Customer Intimacy – delivering above and beyond expectations and being customer-centric – that’s what’s spurred all of this growth, and our newly increased capabilities will help us ensure its continuation, all of which is consistent with our vision for the company.”

The added production capacity will accommodate up to a million donuts per day, according to Director of Operations Nero Patel; “That’s a big breakfast!” he jokes. David Bennett, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, adds that a newly set target of doubling Clyde’s business within 5 years “is a lofty short-term goal, but it’s manageable.” Clyde’s business partners include in-store bakeries in supermarkets, convenience stores, foodservice groups, distributors, and contract manufacturing customers. “One thing that we bring to the table is that we ONLY do donuts,” Bennett notes; “we truly specialize.”

The project was a true labor of love for the Clyde’s team, and a true work of partnership between Clyde’s and the Village of Addison. Mayor Rich Veenstra praises Clyde’s commitment to the Village. “Clyde’s has been a role model for businesses in Addison…. They saw the advantages of remaining in Addison, and we worked with them to facilitate the realization of their needs.”

Perhaps one reason for the solidity of this company’s culture is its Chairman, family patriarch Bill Bickford, who proudly proclaims his “pride in family and these generations of dedicated employees.” Bill started working with his father-in-law at Clyde’s when he was 20 years old, and bought the company in 1962. Clyde’s boasts 3 generations of Bickfords still at the helm, from patriarch Bill, to brothers Kim and Kent, to grandson Josh (son of Kim); the workplace dynamic strengthens the family bond as well as the business.

Josh Bickford, who joined the family business in 2009 and leads Continuous Improvement programs, is enthusiastic that the new logo (a sprinkle-and-frosting decorated donut, bitten to resemble the letter C) and slogan “Smiles All Around” truly sum up the Clyde’s experience. “People transfer the love of enjoying a donut to their kids. It’s not trite – the thought of enjoying a donut evokes a feeling; a donut moment, if you will. The joy of donuts.” Now, Josh and his wife are expecting their 2nd child, and focus is strongly on the rebranding and bringing the Clyde’s variety of sweet success to new partners and customers, possibly with a 5th generation to someday join the team. Josh beams, “I’m so proud to be part of a family that is literally working together and constantly building.”

Kent Bickford, brother of Kim and CFO of Clyde’s Donuts, summed up the reason why this attitude is alive and well at Clyde’s in his Welcome speech at the event: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts: that’s synergy.” And that concept is robust at Clyde’s, where in Kent’s words, “employee dedication is everything; our employees are like family to us.”

“In my lifetime,” explains Bill, “I’ve seen this business grow from a tiny shop in Chicago’s Lincoln Park to this large facility here. We’ve always done good business, we’ve always taken care of our employees, and we’ve always loved working with our current and new customers, because we’re all like family.”

That sentiment resonates throughout all 104,000 square feet of the facility, along with the sentiment that the Clyde’s ‘family’ is all in this together and believes in the power of a donut.

Because, as Chairman and great-grandfather Bill Bickford neatly concludes, “Even after all this time, I still love donuts!”