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Dare sales wagon at H. K. Forler
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Dare Foods Limited is a family-owned business based in Kitchener, Ontario. It manufactures cookies, crackers, candies and fine breads at its seven plants in Ontario, Quebec and South Carolina. Dare candies are made in Toronto and Milton, Ontario.
In 1889, Charles H. Doerr opened a grocery store on the corner of Breithaupt and Gzowski (now Weber) Streets in Berlin (now Kitchener, Ontario) that by 1892 had become a biscuit-manufacturing operation. In 1919 a larger bakery was built in Kitchener to replace the original plant and at the same time a line of candies was added. In 1942 the Kitchener plant was destroyed by a fire and in 1943 a smaller wartime replacement was constructed on a former flying field on the outskirts of Kitchener. A new office building was constructed in Kitchener in 1952. In 2003 a new Kitchener office building was constructed to preserve and highlight the original 1952 yellow-brick structure.
The company now known as Dare Foods Limited was originally known as the C.H. Doerr Co. When Charles H. Doerr died in 1941 his grandson, Carl M. Doerr, became President of the company and began an expansion program that introduced Dare products in more than 40 countries. In 1945 the company and family name was changed from “Doerr” to “Dare” creating The Dare Company, Limited, later renamed Dare Foods Limited. With the help of his sons Bryan and Graham, Carl Dare continued to guide Dare Foods Ltd. until 2002. In Nov. 2002 Fred Jacques was appointed as President, the first non-family member to head the company in 111 years. Bryan and Graham Dare remain co-chairmen of the company’s Board of Directors.
The business history of Dare Foods is complex: it has formed, acquired, merged and dissolved other companies and its own divisions over the years. One of Carl M. Doerr’s first expansion acquisitions was The Howe Candy Company in Hamilton, Ontario. Other acquisitions include Saratoga Products, St. Jacobs Canning Company, Mother Dell’s Bakeries, Dairy Maid Chocolates, Bremner Biscuit Co., Saputo/Culinar CFS.
In 1960 a sales office was opened in Montreal, establishing Les Aliments Dare Limitée, Dare’s selling and distributing organization in the Province of Quebec. The Western Division was established in 1962 with the opening of a bakery and sales office in North Surrey, Vancouver, B.C., serving British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.
In 1954 The Dare Company, Limited was the first Canadian cookie company to use the new recloseable tin tie packages that had been used successfully in the coffee industry and which have become standard packaging in the cookie industry in Canada.
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Photograph of Ralph Doerr and William Kettleborne standing next to a horse-drawn C.H. Doerr & Co. sales wagon outside of the H. K. Forler storefront in Wellesley.
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Blue pen inscription on verso reads: "Taken in 1908 in front of H. K. Forler's grocery store in Wellesley, Ont. / right: William Kettleborn / left: Ralph Doerr, age 23, nephew of C. H. Doerr, later General Manager of C. H. Doerr & Co."