Our History - A Timeline

Rotella’s is still a generational family owned and operated business!

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Timeline 1850-1908 Arrow

1850 – 1908

made in italy

The Rotella tradition begins in 1850 in Calabria, Italy, where Domenico Rotella mills his own wheat into flour. Baking in a small wood-fired oven, he sells hearty loaves to fellow villagers. Renowned as a master baker, Domenico passes the craft on to his son, Alessandro.

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1909

land of opportunity

Alessandro immigrates to America with his wife Maria. They settle in Omaha, Nebraska.

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1909 – 1921

negotiating a future

Alessandro finds employment in the street cars and railroads. In 1921, a strike leaves him out of work, inspiring him to return to the family trade. Negotiating with a local businessman, he buys a small bakery for $25 a month.

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1921

new life, new world

Led by Alessandro and his wife, Maria, a born businesswoman who was educated in Italy, Rotella’s Bakery begins a new life in a new world. A horse-drawn wagon, which delivers fresh bread to customers, becomes a local symbol of wholesome goodness.

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1930

trying times

In the midst of the Great Depression, Alessandro and Maria Rotella do all they can to help both their business and their community.

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1939 – 1940

pledging allegiance

Maria and Alessandro, new citizens of the United States, love America and the opportunity it affords. Alessandro is known to say: “Italy is like my mother because I was raised there, but America is my father because it supports me.”

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1944

war time

Drafted to the army a day after high school graduation, Louis Rotella Sr. serves in Stuttgart, Germany, during World War II.

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1948

passing the torch

Louis Rotella Sr. returns from his service in Germany and assures his father that he is ready to take over the bakery with this his older brother, Ameado, promising to focus on maintaining the high quality products that Rotella’s has become known for.

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1950

a new addition

Alessandro with one-year-old grandson, Louis Rotella Jr., a new addition to the Rotella family.

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1955

the innovation edge

Always seeking to bring customers new experiences, Louis Sr., shown with his wife Helen, stays on top of trends in the baking industry.

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1960

best thing since sliced bread

Rotella’s Bakery introduces sliced bread and plastic packaging, new innovations for an Italian bakery at the time. This allows the bread to stay fresh longer.

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1965

beyond a doubt

People tell Louis Rotella Sr. his business will never grow to meet the scale of his ambitions. Recognizing doubt as the seed of all disappointment, he chooses to have faith instead, working day and night to turn his dreams into reality. The result: a brand new, large-scale facility.

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1973

young leader

Louis Rotella Jr. proves himself capable of running all facets of the plant, from mixing dough to leading and inspiring others, at a young age.

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1979

father and son

Some fathers and sons bond over sports. This pair, Louis Sr. and Jr., share a passion for business, not to mention a tireless work ethic and love of good bread.

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1982

fresh idea

Shown here: Louis Rotella Sr., Louis Rotella Jr., Dean Jacobsen and Jimmy Rotella. This year, with his father’s support, Louis Jr. launches his national campaign to sell fresh, frozen bread. The innovation brings Rotella’s products to an expanded customer base.

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1988

love eternally

Helen Rotella gives her husband this photograph, writing on the back: “December 4, 1988. To my husband, Louis Rotella Sr. Rotella’s Italian Bakery under construction. 6949 South 108th Street. I love this picture. A lot of hard work and planning (a dream come true). Buona fortuna! Love eternally, your wife, Helen.”

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1989

a thriving enterprise

The bakery blends cutting-edge technology with old-world techniques.

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1992

a lifetime together

Louis and Helen Rotella Sr. on their 45th wedding anniversary.

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1995

new offerings

Shown here: Louis Rotella Sr., Louis Rotella Jr., Dean Jacobsen and James Rotella. To meet customer interest in specialty products, the bakery increases its product line with an array of new offerings. This comes at a time when the bakery’s presence in the United States is growing.

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2000

the culinary forefront

Rotella’s Bakery further expands its national co-creation program, partnering with executive chefs to develop exclusive baked breads and rolls.

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2003

the evolution of a logo

Although the Rotella’s Bakery logo has been refreshed several times, it will always stand for quality and service.

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2005

a distinguished career

Under the leadership of Louis Rotella Jr., current CEO and President, Rotella’s Bakery earns numerous industry awards and distinctions.

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2007

picking up the pace

Rotella’s Bakery launches high-speed automated processes and builds the bakery’s North Plant.

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2009

omaha's favorite brand

Consistent winner since 1997 of the Omaha Word Herald Favorite Brand Logo and Omaha Magazine “Best of Omaha” awards.

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2014

highest ratings

Rotella’s Bakery achieves the highest level of food safety, having earned the Global Food Safety Initiative’s certification through SQF Level 3.

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2014

quality from the inside out

Rotella’s product packaging takes on a new look, but what’s inside remains the same: high-quality, wholesome goods baked with pride.

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Construction of new facility Arrow

2014

breaking ground

Louis Rotella Jr, and his two sons, Louis III and John Rotella , look at the expansion plans for the South end of the main plant. Five generations of baking experience and a strong family commitment to product excellence has guided the family company through decades of expansion with a strong passion for high quality products and innovation.

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2015

a family that bakes together

Our sense of purpose as a business stems from our sense of purpose as a family. Carrying the Rotella tradition forward, several family members serve as executives, including Louis Jr.’s brother-in-law, Dean Jacobsen, and cousin, James Rotella. Each has two children in the business: Louis Rotella III, John Rotella, Dean Jacobsen Jr., Helena (Jacobsen) Anderson and Rocky and Gina Rotella. Built on five generations of tradition, the next five generations promise to bring as much innovation, excellence and joyful commitment to serving our customers.