Everyone has heard the saying “the best thing since sliced bread.” Although this phrase did not originate from Diehl’s Bakery, the company jumped at the chance to incorporate its new, modern “Ready Sliced Bread” in 1929, making it the only seller of this bread variety in Butler County. Ready Sliced was only one of at least a dozen different types of bread the bakery offered to its customers. Between the vast selection of its product, the charming family atmosphere, and its clever, innovative advertising strategies, the legacy of Diehl’s Bakery is sure to live on for generations to come.
Diehl’s Bakery, originally located at 319 Center Avenue, was established on May 20, 1910. It was owned and operated by Philip Diehl and his son. From the opening of its doors, it boasted the purity of its products through the modernity of its machinery, stating that their quality was above and beyond that of hand-mixed goods. Diehl's Bakery emphasized their highly sanitary facilities through transparency - they encouraged patrons to stop by anytime and inspect. This tradition continued even when Diehl furthered his investment with the opening of a multi-story plant in 1914, on the corner of Center and Lookout (South Monroe) Avenues. On the evening of its grand opening, October 29, guests were delighted to receive a tour of the plant, and personally witnessed each step of the bread-making process.
The bakery did not miss a beat during World War I; they ran ads in the newspaper showing their support for the War Savings Stamps that were issued by the United States Treasury to garner funds for the war. With Diehl’s helping hand, Butler County sold the most stamps of any county in the state. Butler was awarded the Pershing Award for their efforts.
Diehl’s Bakery had a fresh, original take on advertising that could be neither matched nor surpassed. In the early years, the newspaper advertisements for the bakery were wholesome and informative, but as the years passed, new and creative strategies to rally customers emerged. In the 1930s, if a patron collected a certain number of bread wrappers they could turn them in for a prize. The bakery awarded dolls, roller skates, and lanterns for ten, fifty, and sixty bread wrappers respectively. Diehl’s appealed to patriotism as well, with a bread named after famous flag-sewer Betsy Ross with the slogan, “made with a mother’s care.” A picture of Abraham Lincoln is used to compare the honesty of the president with that of the bread from Diehl’s. Diehl’s Bakery used the health benefits of its breads as another advertising platform. Its Sanitarium Gluten Bread was an excellent option for those suffering from obesity, diabetes, and anemia. The “Honey Krushed Bread” was known to ease constipation - enthusiastic patrons submitted their success stories to the newspaper. One of the many satisfied customers raved about its benefits: “We have three children in our home and it has always been a hard job to get them to let me give them a laxative or purgative. Many times when they wouldn’t play and moped around I was at a loss to know what to do. Thanks to your Honey Krushed Wheat Bread I now keep them regular and happy without the use of any cathartic.”
In 1949, Ralph Chantler purchased the bakery and renamed it Chantler Baking Company. It operated until the late 1960s. Even though the building was torn down in 2011 due to dilapidation, the memories of the sweet aroma of bread on Center Avenue have and will continue to stand the test of time.