In the early 19th century, John Chapman, or "Johnny Appleseed," wandered the Ohio countryside, sowing apple seeds, preaching the gospel and securing his place in American history. It was from the fruit of Johnny Appleseed's trees that Orrville resident Jerome Monroe Smucker first pressed cider at a mill he opened in 1897. Later, he began making apple butter. Each crock bore a hand-signed seal as his personal guarantee of quality.
Jerome and his son Willard took the fledgling company on the road in 1900, selling his Apple Butter (the company's first spreadable product) from a horse-drawn wagon. The company would be incorporated in 1921 but it would be 2 more years before the first J.M. Smucker's Jams and Jellies were jarred for sale.
Before long, J. M. Smucker's name became well known in its own right, as residents throughout the region – and eventually the nation – came to associate the Smucker's name with wholesome, high-quality fruit products.
Much like Johnny Appleseed's trees, The J. M. Smucker Company had strong roots that have allowed it to grow and prosper over the last 100 years. Today, their products can be found in homes and restaurants throughout the world. Today the Smuckers Company still located in Orrville, Ohio is ranked 37th in Fortune's top 100 countries in America to work for.
On the plant grounds located less than 500 feet from the company's corporate headquarters, is the house that Jerome Smucker built in 1907 and lived there for the last 40 years of his life. The house was restored to its original character in 1983, however, the home is not normally open to the public but is used for corporate functions.
Simply Smucker Retail Store and Cafe
Simply Smucker's, the showcase retail store of the J. M. Smucker Co., recently had its grand reopening after an expansion that doubled its size. the cafe offers the only wood-fired pizza oven in the area, and hungry visitors can use a walk-up window off the patio area, which offers seating at tables under gingham umbrellas for two dozen people. Visitors can get a variety of foods, ranging from salads and muffins to sandwiches, including a Smucker PB&J. In addition, various product demonstration stations offer tasty samples.
One of the big draws is the museum that traces the development of the J. M. Smucker Co. over the past 100 years or, and incorporates not only artifacts of significance to the company, but also several video presentations that trace its evolution.
The retail store offers just about everything Smuckers makes, including products like jams, jellies and preserves, fruit butters and syrups, ice cream toppings, peanut butter (both the famous Smucker brand and the newly acquired Jiff brand), curds, pepper jellies, mustards, Crisco (also newly acquired) and strawberry glaze. There are many, many varieties of all these items, too. Of course, when you think of Smuckers, you think of the famous strawberry logo, but there are a lot more fruit products than just strawberry.
The store, about a quarter mile north of U.S. 30 on SR 57, features many of the products made by Smucker. The new store is open from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturdays, and is closed Sundays.
The Smucker Name
The Smucker family name has actually undergone some changes throughout its history. Christian Schmucker carried the traditional family name when he brought his family over from Switzerland to the United States in 1752. His great grandson, David, shortened the name to Smoker. David's son, Gideon had 9 children, the eldest of whom was Jerome Monroe Smucker, the founder of The J. M. Smucker Company. Jerome changed the family name to Smucker because he felt it was more in keeping with his family's strong conservative beliefs.
"With a name like Smucker's, it has to be good!"
Ever wonder where that catchy phrase came from. It came from the mind of Lois Wyse who operated an advertising agency along with her husband Marc, Wyse Advertising, located in Cleveland. In 1962, Lois Wyse came up with the classic slogan for one of their clients, the J. M. Smucker Co."With a name like Smucker's, it has to be good." The slogan provided Smucker's with national brand recognition.
She wrote nonfiction books, romance novels, poetry and children's stories. In all, she wrote some 65 books. Her book, "Funny, You Don't Look Like Grandmother," which she co-wrote with Sheilah Rae, became a New York Times and Publisher's Weekly best seller in 1989 and was adapted into a musical. She also suggested that a small retail chain called "Bed and Bath" that was looking for ways of improving their company's profits, change their name to "Bed, Bath & Beyond".