Merita Bread, November 1933

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Merita Bread, November 1933

Merita Bread, November 1933

March 28, 2017

My father's family was kind of a produce specialist for many years. He worked for various produce companies. I think worked at one time for the Blue Goose which bought produce in this area and he worked as a buyer. Then my mother's family were farmers. My grandfather, if he lived today, we'd call him a truck farmer. But he had a mule and a single tree plow. So he plowed and farmed. He was quite a good carpenter. He would do carpentry work and that kind of a thing... His older son stayed at home, Marshall. He worked various places. He worked at Merita Bakery....

Listen as Dr. Robert Byrd, an Orlando native, describes growing up in Orlando in this excerpt from an oral history interview with Dr. Byrd at the Orlando Public Library on August 12, 2016.

According to Eve Bacon's Orlando A Centennial History, the American Bakery Company purchased the Reed Baking Plant in May of 1925, located at the corner of South and Hughey Streets. Merita Bakery Company broke ground September 21, 1960 for its plant at Harding Avenue and Division Street.  

Dr. Byrd attended Grand Avenue Elementary School, Cherokee Junior High School, Orlando High School, and Boone High School. He studied at Stetson University and Belmont College. Dr. Byrd worked as Professor of New Testament Theology for 40 years at Belmont University.

LISTEN  Part I  (19:23)

My father got into the wholesale grocery business, had worked for a company selling grocery goods to local stores. That was before the day of Publix Markets, of Kroger, or Winn Dixie. Stores were more family oriented. He worked for a company called C. G. Suarez Distributing Company out of Tampa. I believe his company sold the first Borden cheese product in Orlando....

Photo courtesy of the Robert Byrd Family Archives.

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