The history of Duke Foods is a captivating one. Our founder Eugenia Duke made her reputation as a businesswoman before women even had the right to vote, selling homemade sandwiches on the streets of downtown Greenville, South Carolina for a dime a piece. Her deliciously simple spreads tasted “like home” to soldiers who were far from it, and her signature chicken salad, egg salad and pimento cheese recipes delighted millworkers and dandies alike. So popular were Eugenia’s recipes that her sandwiches enjoy near-legendary status, and her delectable mayonnaise has become the very flavor of the South.
Eugenia Duke begins selling her homemade spread sandwiches made with a family mayonnaise recipe to soldiers stationed at Camp Sevier—just outside of Greenville, South Carolina. Eugenia launches a successful woman-owned business before she even had the right to vote.
Eugenia’s sandwiches are an instant hit, and in the spring of 1919, she sells more than 10,000 sandwiches in one day. As demand increases, Eugenia begins supplying sandwiches to canteens, stores and textile mills in the Upstate.
Following the success of her business, Eugenia sells her mayonnaise recipe to C.F. Sauer who establishes a Duke Mayonnaise factory in the Upstate. Eugenia also sells the recipes for her spreads to her bookkeeper, Alan Hart, who establishes a wholesale market for the sandwiches.
Alan Hart sells the business to his wife’s brother, Loran Smart. As the demand for Duke Sandwiches increases, Mr. Smart modifies a machine to automatically wrap the sandwiches, allowing the company to make larger quantities of sandwiches while maintaining a high standard of quality and freshness.
Richard Smart, son of Loran and Estaleen, transforms the company by establishing several restaurant locations. He runs the business with the help of his wife and sons.
Richard’s wife, Cheryl Smart, becomes president of the company taking charge of the Duke Sandwich Company restaurants located in the Upstate of South Carolina.
Richard and Cheryl’s son, Andrew Smart, opens a brand new, state-of-the-art USDA/FDA manufacturing plant in Simpsonville, South Carolina. With the aid of this manufacturing facility, Duke Sandwich Company products are now offered in regional grocery store chains.
Duke Sandwich Productions, Inc. is recognized as one of the fastest growing companies in South Carolina. Due to significant growth in retail markets, a new 80,000 square-foot manufacturing facility is built in Easley, South Carolina.
Duke Sandwich Productions, Inc. expands into new product categories, including ready-to-eat spreads, dips and salsas, and a baking segment initially focused on desserts. The company is renamed Duke Food Productions.
Duke Foods closes on a parcel of land in Update South Carolina, providing them with an opportunity to expand their local presence in the future.
Duke Foods and Duke Sandwich Company celebrate their Centennial Anniversary with new brand identities and a new parent company: Duke Brands. The family owned and operated private holding company opens its corporate headquarters in downtown Greenville. Duke Brands commits to building on its 100-year history of success in food service and production with a portfolio of brands dedicated to quality and attention to customer service long forgotten.