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Royal Cake Company

by Wiley J. Williams, 2006

The Royal Cake Company, one of the oldest and largest bakeries in the United States, was established in Winston-Salem in 1925 as Easley Cookie Company, with David W. Easley as owner. Gray G. Welch and Henry Hicks bought the company in 1926. With Welch as president and Hicks as secretary-treasurer, the firm became Royal Cake Company in the mid-1930s. By the 1950s, Royal Cake's cream-filled oatmeal cookies (the firm's best seller) and 20 other types of pastries-including chocolate chip cream-filled cookies, banana marshmallow pies, Swiss rolls, brownie rounds, and fruit-filled cereal bars-were available in convenience stores, grocery chains, vending machines, and other venues in all states east of the Mississippi River. In the early 2000s Royal Cake Company, headed by CEO James B. Whitney, had 200 full-time employees and more than $30 million in annual sales.

 

Update from N.C. Government & Heritage Library staff: 

The Royal Cake Company declared bankruptcy in 2005 and was subsequently purchased by Flowers Foods.  

According to a Flowers Food representative (2/13/2015): "Our
company no longer sells cookies under the Royal brand. However, we do
use the Royal recipe for oatmeal cookies sold under the Southern Home
label, the store brand of BI-LO grocery stores, which are located in NC,
SC, TN, and GA."

References:

Lynn Jessup, "Royal Cake Company: Creme-Filled Creations," Our State 69 (May 2002).

Additional Resources:

"Company Info." FlowersFoods. http://www.flowersfoods.com/FFC_CompanyInfo/index.cfm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Origin - location: 

Comments

Comment: 

I grew up on Royal Oatmeal cookies and really miss them as well. Nothing like them on the market. Will always miss them.

Comment: 

I agree about them being the best but I am a little biased. I worked for Royal Cake on Academy Street in Winston-Salem from 1975 till 1978 when they made pound cake and fruit cake slices for vending machines. They operated the "cull" store out of the front and we could get cookies damaged freshly made. YUM
From 1978 -1980 I worked at the Cassel Street factory making the oatmeal dough. You are right, Little Debbie does not compare to Royal.
PS--- Flower's Bakery Mrs. Freshley's brand is also from the Royal Cake recipe!

Comment: 

I just found the Southern Home Oatmeal Cremes at BiLo on Albemarle Rd. in Charlotte. "Just found", as in I bought them 15 minutes ago and smearing one right now. This IS the Royal Oatmeal Cookie. They're probably sold at every single BiLo in NC. Go get you some! :)

Comment: 

I remember growing up and my parents would take us to the Royal Cake Company to buy the oatmeal cookies all crushed and soft in a plastic bag, like a zip lock bag. Now those were the best. Never tasted oatmeal cookies like that again!

Comment: 

Yes I agree even little Debbie does not compare my mom use to take us to and get the broken ones they were the best.I would even order them if I could.Also loved the devils good cookies.

Comment: 

You state royal oatmeal cookies is sold at Bi-Lo in North Carolina under the southern home label. Can you tell me the exact name of the oatmeal cookies and exactly which Bi-Lo stores in North Carolina.
Thank You,
waiting for your response.
Beverly Van Eaton

Comment: 

Thank you so much, i am finally getting the oatmeal cookies from Bi-Lo in Statesville NC. Whenever we go through statesville, we pick up several boxes. They're not as big, but you can tell they are royal. Thanks again. Beverly

Comment: 

I also grew up on Royal oatmeal cookies!! My mother used to work at the motel "Parkway Chalet" and the bakery was just across on Academy St. !They used to have days when they would sell to the public "rejects" which were ones with too much cream that oozed out the sides! Those were my favorite! No other cream filled oatmeal cookie has come close! The world has lost a great thing! Please somebody, bring them back! 63 yrs. old and waitingN

Comment: 

Patrick Henry Hicks, named above as one of the partners of the start of the firm, was my grandfather. He sold his share of the business to Gray Welch. Patrick Hicks IV

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Copyright notice

This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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