Willard W. Bickford

1927-2021

It is with great sadness that the Bickford Family and all at Clyde’s Donuts announce the passing of Chairman Emeritus and second generation owner Willard W. Bickford.

Willard W. Bickford, known as ‘Bill’, and affectionately referred to by his employees as “Mr. B”, aged 94, died on November 6, 2021, in Schaumburg, Illinois.  He was born in Corning, Iowa in 1927, and raised on his family’s farm.  He was the youngest of 8 siblings.  After a short career in the U.S. Navy at the very end of World War II, he moved to Chicago and began his career at Clyde’s Delicious Donuts on April 1, 1948, working for the man who would become his father-in-law. 

After taking full ownership of Clyde’s in 1963, the company embarked on a period of growth and modernization for many decades.  Bill provided ‘hands on’ direction and leadership of the company into the 21st century.  Dad loved his work and career at Clyde’s, he loved donuts, and he loved the many employees who have made Clyde’s successful. 

ADDISON, IL (October 12, 2021) – Clyde’s Donuts, a leading supplier of donuts to in-store bakeries and foodservice providers nationwide, today announced its expansion into a new, state-of-the art manufacturing facility in 2022. As a part of its continued growth, the company’s second facility will provide additional donut capacity and quality careers for hundreds of workers.

“During the unprecedented last couple of years, it’s clear that consumers continue to love donuts, though a lack of supply has really strained the marketplace,” explains Kim Bickford, CEO of Clyde’s Donuts. “We are so thankful for our employees, who have worked tirelessly through these times, and our customers, who have shown great patience as we made plans to ensure many, many more delicious donuts for years to come!”

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Focusing on the “family” part of family business, Kim Bickford highlights what over 100 years of experience has taught Clyde’s Donuts about weathering the storm of the current pandemic.

“When the pandemic hit last year, one of the important things that I said to the organization was, ‘This company has been through a lot in the past 100 years, and we’re going to get through this as well.’ That’s a steady message that I tried to share with our team,” noted Mr. Bickford, who’s been with the company for 44 years.

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In a year where the COVID-19 surge has changed so much of how we do business, Clyde’s continues to provide delicious donuts that are safe to eat!

“While the individual, self-serve case has definitely seen some challenges in the past few months, donuts are still strong!” he shares. “A delicious donut is a wonderful comfort food, and for 100 years Clyde’s has always been proud to bring a smile to our customer’s face.”

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What’s the driving force in the bakery today? In an interview with Jennifer Barnett Fox of Supermarket Perimeter, Clyde’s focuses on how donuts and innovation will stand the test of time!

“There’s an emotional connection to enjoying a donut,” says Josh Bickford, executive vice president, strategic initiatives, Clyde’s Donuts. “Tried-and-true varieties like glazed rings or sprinkled donuts can bring back a sense of simpler times and with increasing demand for combining flavors into new creations, there’s always an opportunity to excite the customer with something new.”

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