The History of Rhodes’ Founder
Herbert C. Rhodes
Herbert Cecil Rhodes Jr. was born near Sheffield in Derbyshire County, England, February 27, 1896, as the fifth child of Herbert Cecil and Jane Crooks Rhodes’ family of eight children. When Herbert Jr. was eight, he got his first job selling bread after school and on Saturdays--a pound loaf for three pennies.
In 1907, the Rhodes family moved to Fernie, British Columbia. Herb Jr. got a choreboy job at Fernie Free Press. Within two months, he began his own printing business. In 1911, Herb repaired an abandoned water well rig for $300 and started drilling wells. His first well struck water at 125 feet and is still in use today.
About this time, Herb noticed pretty Edythe Andrews. Edythe, of Portland, Oregon, was in Canada visiting relatives. She soon became Mrs. Herbert Rhodes. Herb and Edythe moved to Portland, Oregon in 1919 where Herb opened the Dusty Rhodes Garage. Among his automotive inventions were the compression gauge and magneto charger for Model T Fords.
Herb got into the food processing business when he bought a mayonnaise company that was going broke and put it back on its feet. In 1928 he sold the company to Nalley in Tacoma, Washington.
In 1929, Herb assisted in perfecting the automatic-roll machine. In 1932, he founded Rhodes Bakery Equipment, Inc. which sold products nationwide and revolutionized the baking industry. In 1948, Mr. Rhodes and his staff perfected the Rhodes Automatic Reverse Sheeting Moulder-Panner. For a period of time, 80% of all bread made in the United States and Canada was produced under his patents. Rhodes Bakery Equipment also perfected and manufactured the “Kook-e-King” machine which automated the cookie industry.
In 1951, Herb bought a bankrupt freezer manufacturing plant. For several years he manufactured “Zero Freeze” domestic and commercial freezers. Les Lindsay joined him in 1952 as office manager and bookkeeper and became his business manager.
In 1958, Herb and Les combined the bakery equipment and refrigeration plants in Portland, Oregon and developed frozen bread dough branded as Rhodes Bake-N-Serv Bread. They franchised 17 small frozen dough plants over most of the United States, Canada and England.
In 1962, Ken Farnsworth Sr., a food broker (Ken-Son Sales), saw the potential of Rhodes in Oregon, and later introduced Rhodes Bake-N-Serv to grocery stores for Champion Bake-N-Serv—the Idaho franchisee. Under Ken Sr.’s sales leadership, dinner rolls were added to the Rhodes line and successfully introduced to food service and grocery stores. His eldest son, Ken Jr. introduced Rhodes Bake-N-Serv to Utah in 1964. In 1975, Mr. Rhodes gave Ken Jr. an opportunity to become a partner in the Champion Bake-N-Serv franchise owned by Mr. Rhodes which served Utah and Idaho at that time.
A devout Seventh-day Adventist, Herb Rhodes felt a deep concern for Christian education. As a result, he located many of his plants near Seventh-day Adventist schools to provide jobs for students. Today, this tradition continues at both Rhodes plants.
Herb Rhodes always loved and enjoyed life. Everyday was a new adventure to him. He stated that he never wanted to retire as nothing could be less interesting to him. He passed away February 8, 1980, as he wished, still working at 84.
Mr. Rhodes grandson, Tom Duncan, inherited Rhodes Bakery and Refrigeration which manufactured bakery and freezer equipment. In 2006, it was purchased by John Stricker who continues to manufacture and sell Rhodes Kook-e-King automated cookie making equipment.
Leslie Lindsay, who served faithfully as Rhodes Bake-N-Serv Secretary-Treasurer for many years and helped Mr. Rhodes manage the business from 1952-1980, continued to manage Rhodes Bake-N-Serv, the franchisor, for the Rhodes family after Mr. Rhodes death until 1985 when it was acquired by Oregon Foods Division of Labatt, Toronto, Canada. This was soon after Labatt acquired Dakota Bake-N-Serv which was the largest Rhodes franchisee. Rhodes Bake-N-Serv and Dakota Bake-N-Serv were purchased by Ken Farnsworth Jr. owner of Champion Bake-N-Serv, from Labatt Breweries which ended the franchise concept Oct. 26,1990. One firm, Rhodes International, Inc. became the sole manufacturer of Rhodes frozen dough serving the United States and Canada with all rights to the Rhodes Bake-N-Serv and Dakota Hearth brands.
Today, Rhodes Bake-N-Serv is the brand name used by Rhodes International, Inc. which is owned and managed by Ken Farnsworth Jr., his eldest son “Kenny” Farnsworth, President, and Erik Lehnardt. Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah with plants in Caldwell, Idaho and Columbus, Wisconsin, Rhodes Bake-N-Serv supplies grocery stores, club stores, and mass merchandisers across the United States. Rhodes is also available to restaurants, schools, and other institutions through food service distributors.
Rhodes Bake-N-Serv continues the tradition of quality started by Mr. Herbert Cecil Rhodes Jr. and all the dedicated people who have made Rhodes “America’s Favorite Frozen Dough”.