C.F. Sauer Co. Timeline
Having celebrated its 125th year in 2012, C.F. Sauer Co. makes extracts, flavorings and spices. The privately owned company also sells mayonnaise, salad dressings, margarine and cooking oils under a variety of brand names, including Duke’s, Sauer’s, Gold Medal, Bama and Mrs. Filbert’s.
1887: Conrad Frederick Sauer, a 21-year-old pharmacist, starts his own company on Oct. 13, producing and selling pure-flavoring extracts in 5and 10-gram bottles from 17th and Broad streets.
1911: Sauer moves to 2000 W. Broad St., where the company’s headquarters remain. The company had 250 workers, including 48 salesmen.
1917: Sauer offers Sauer pharmaceuticals for the war effort to President Woodrow Wilson, which he accepts.
1927: C.F. Sauer Co. becomes the nation’s largest producer of extracts and spices. C.F. Sauer Jr. is elected president and treasurer of the company following the death of his father.
1929: Sauer buys Duke’s Products Co. of Greenville, S.C. The Great Depression begins and a period of declining markets and scarce raw materials challenges the company through World War II.
1948: The Joan Brooks Show, solely sponsored by Sauer, premiers on a Richmond radio station. Renamed the Sauer Show, it plays on 77 stations in 13 Southern states until 1951.
1957-58: Product lines expand, including the addition of Gold Medal black pepper.
1964: The company buys Dean Foods, a margarine manufacturer, which produces private-label and foodservice products.
1976: Sauer’s buys Metrolina Plastics Inc. of Shelby, N.C., to make plastic spice cans, bottles and tops for company products. Metrolina’s operations are now adjacent to Sauer’s production complex in Richmond.
1984: C.F. Sauer Foodservice is created to make commercial recipes and flavorings.
1990-91: Company completes expansion of Greenville, S.C., manufacturing plant and adds new distribution center in Richmond.
1993: C.F. Sauer IV is elected president of the company.
1996: Sauer buys Bama brand food products from Welch Foods Inc., giving Sauer entry to the export market.
1999: In August, Sauer buys The Spice Hunter of San Luis Obispo, Calif., a marketer of exotic spices, spice blends and all-natural foods. A few weeks later, Sauer purchases Mrs. Filbert’s Mayonnaise.
Since 2000: Expansion of Dean Foods plant in Sandston doubles size of margarine and liquid-butter substitute manufacturing. Greenville plant renovation increases production and storage abilities for high-volume products. Sauer builds 210,000-square-foot mayonnaise and margarine plant in New Century, Kan., providing nationwide distribution.