Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe: American Family Owned and Operated since 1955
July 8, 2019
11 min. read
Our story is what we like to call “a true American dream success story,” thanks to the way our founders, Lloyd and Lois Martin, grew this business from a small bakery in their garage to a fully operating industrial bakery with retail distribution up and down the East Coast. Yet, not only is our story an all-American one, it’s also one centered around family. The Martins have always involved their family members in the business. When Martin’s was founded, Lloyd and Lois worked with their son, Jim, in the garage bakery and then their daughters, Anita and Keren, in the restaurant. Now, the third generation of the Martin family all works in Martin’s headquarters, each involved in a unique area of the business!
Beyond the biological Martin family, Martin’s as a company has grown into a whole family of coworkers. From bakery employees to accountants to route salespeople, every member of the Martin’s team has become part of the “family.” But don’t just take our word for it! We interviewed some of Martin’s longstanding employees to tell us about their experience as part of the Martin’s family of employees.
Years at Martin’s: 33
Position: Production Engineer
Favorite Martin’s Product: Potatobred Stuffing
First up is Ernie A., Production Engineer at Martin’s Chambersburg bakery. Ernie has worked for Martin’s for 33 years, starting in maintenance at the bakery when it was located on Lincoln Way (Route 30). He says, “I started as a wrench turner when we made pastries. It has been very interesting to grow through the changes. When I started as a mechanic, there was only one other person. When I became manager, there were 30.”
Now, Ernie is part of the engineering team, and, as you can imagine, mechanics and engineers at Martin’s have adapted to a lot of new technology over the years. Ernie describes “the challenge to learn new technologies” as one of his favorite parts of his job. He says, “I like learning new things. I could not have even dreamed all the things that changed in the past ten years. There wasn’t even an engineering department. It is really, really cool to be a part of the changes.”
In all those changes, Ernie says one of his proudest moments at Martin’s was in developing new technology for the bakery. “Jim [Martin] asked us to build a machine that doesn’t exist,” he says. “We had to design and build it ourselves. It failed. Even though Jim put much money and time into it, he wasn’t upset but said ‘Okay, we learned from that and let’s try again.’ Since that, we were able to succeed. We made the machine even better and were even able to patent it. My name is on that patent. Now, we have that machine and versions of it on all the different lines [in the bakery].”
Ernie also says that he enjoys being recognized by Martin’s fans in public. Once, while he was on a fishing trip, Ernie says he met a man who “actually wanted to give me a hug” and told Ernie, “Wait until I tell my wife that I talked to someone who makes these rolls!”
Ultimately, Ernie chalks up many of his positive experiences at Martin’s to the integrity of the family business. He explains, “I know what it is like to work in my own family company. I think that it is amazing that the Martin family maintains the integrity of family. They support one another no matter what. Working in a family company is less political. The family has the values and the freedoms to make decisions that will be in the best interest of their company rather than worrying about just making money.”
According to Ernie, this integrity is part of what makes Martin’s stand out as an employer. This is particularly true about Jim Martin, Martin’s president, himself. Ernie says of Jim, “I’ve worked shoulder to shoulder with him for years. His integrity, benevolence, values, and way he approaches issues and problems are set to a higher standard.” He continues, “Jim is a true baker at heart. He wants a good product so that the customer will be ‘wowed.’ To make sure his customer is happy, he will make decisions that maybe other companies would not, so that he can make sure our products are unique and special. It is a huge responsibility and privilege that they do not take lightly.”
Years at Martin’s: 26
Position: Sales Coordinator
Favorite Martin’s Product: Long Potato Rolls
Our next employee is Dawn N., who has worked at Martin’s for 26 years in sales. When asked why she first applied to Martin’s, Dawn simply said, “They have a fantastic product.” She says her favorite part of working at Martin’s is “talking to different salesmen from different areas. I like getting to know people on a personal level. It’s like my family. They may be my coworkers, but they are really my friends.”
Dawn notes that her coworkers and supervisor are very appreciative of her hard work. She says, “I like knowing and hearing that I’m making a difference. The salesmen are so appreciative when you go above and beyond.” She also explains that her supervisor, Chelsea K., “is good at pulling people together” and “is very supportive and thanks me for my work.”
Dawn says that part of what makes Martin’s feel like a family is that her supervisors and management actually ask about your family. She says, “I have always appreciated how Lloyd [Martin] and Jim [Martin] ask about family and stop and talk to you.” She also says that Martin’s provides “great benefits for their employees. They want to take care of you through benefits. They want you and your families to be taken care of.”
Finally, when we asked Dawn when she was the most proud to work at Martin’s, she said, “as long as we produce a good product and provide good service, I will always be proud.”
Years at Martin’s: 41
Position: Packaging Operator
Favorite Martin’s Product: White dough products, like Old-Fashioned Real Butter Bread
Virginia C. has spent the last 41 years faithfully working in Martin’s bakery in the packaging department. That’s a long time! But between the benefits, the hands-on work she enjoys, and the people she’s made relationships with, it’s clear why Virginia chose to stay.
Virginia says she first applied to Martin’s because she wanted to have her own income and be around people at work. It seems that she chose the right place to work, as now, she says her favorite memories of working at Martin’s are simply “the people.”
Like the other staff we interviewed, part of why Virginia enjoys working specifically at Martin’s is the benefits that Martin’s offers. But, she also enjoys that Martin’s is a “dependable workplace” and a “Christian company.” Specifically, Virginia noted that many of her good memories from working here are from the company picnics, which happen every three years. All in all, Virginia is happy to say that she is part of the Martin’s family of coworkers: “I’m always glad to tell people I work at Martin’s. I’m proud of Martin’s.”
Years at Martin’s: 32
Position: Helpdesk Technician II
Favorite Martin’s Product: Old-Fashioned Real Butter Bread
Diane has experienced several different positions here at Martin’s in her 32 years of employment. In moving from dough prep to packaging to product coordination to MIS, Diane has seen almost every side of the business! As the helpdesk technician, Diane uses her problem-solving skills on a regular basis, which, she says, is one of her favorite parts of the job. She says, “I like helping people—getting the issues fixed for people and solving mysteries. I like figuring out why things are happening when we don’t know.”
Diane says that one of her favorite supervisors at Martin’s was in the load coordination area—Peggy G. Diane says of Peggy, “She wasn’t a bossy supervisor. We were able to work as a team and were successful—got the job done and felt good about it.” Diane’s proudest time at Martin’s was when she made the change to work in MIS. She says, “I liked having the ability to get to that position. After I moved to MIS, I started taking classes on a regular basis to receive my certifications.”
One thing that Diane really enjoys about working at Martin’s is the family-type environment. She says, “It is family-oriented and casual, and everyone is friendly. I do not feel like I am on Wall Street.” When asked what she thinks makes Martin’s stand out as an employer, Diane says, “I do think they try to accommodate when they can. They recognize we have families out there—work-life balance. They also go the extra mile with the product and last-minute orders. They go above and beyond to please the customers.”
According to Diane, Martin’s reputation as an American family owned and operated company all comes down to their history and how the company started as a family project. But, she says, it continued into the early years of the bakery: “Jim [Martin] always went to the bakery and would remember everyone’s name.” And that family connection still continues on into the company today. She said, “It does feel like you’re part of their family. I feel that we are an extension of the Martin family.”
Years at Martin’s: 35
Position: Senior Accounts Receivable Clerk
Favorite Martin’s Product: Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Potato Bread and Old-Fashioned Real Butter Bread
In her 35 years at Martin’s, Sharon Y. has worked with accounts receivable, payroll, billing, and sales. You can see the pattern here—she clearly enjoys working with numbers! Specifically, she says her favorite parts of her job are “reconciliation reports and period reports. I like getting all the numbers to agree.”
But there’s more that Sharon also enjoys about working at Martin’s. She says, “Through the years it has been the people. They are like my family. You know everyone, and you get to know their children and families. Sometimes we disagree, just like family, but you deal with it and move on. You are just comfortable.”
In addition to enjoying the company of her coworkers, Sharon explains that the Martin family plays an active part in causing the workplace to feel like a family. Sharon recalls working in the 90s when “we were really growing and looking for new software… It was interesting.” During this time, she says she remembers Lloyd Martin “always stopped to say hello. Lois [Martin] and Jim [Martin] always said ‘hi’ and ‘how’s the family?’”
Sharon explains, “The Martins truly care about their employees. It is a family environment/atmosphere. Martin’s has always treated me very well. Pay, benefits, and leadership of the company are reasons to come [work here]. The Martins have their name on it, and when it is family owned, they care more about the company and the people.”
Years at Martin’s: 20
Position: Production Scheduler
Favorite Martin’s Product: Sandwich Potato Rolls, Long Potato Rolls, and Old-Fashioned Real Butter Bread
Our last interviewee, Scott E., also works in the bakery, but in a different type of position. As a scheduler, Scott is in charge of coordinating the shift schedules of every employee who works in the bakery. But, Scott didn’t start in this position. He’s actually had several jobs here at Martin’s, including Transportation, Production, Product Coordination, and then Scheduling, where he has been for the last 8 years.
Martin’s service initiatives are something that makes Scott proud to work for Martin’s. In his years at Martin’s, Scott has seen many storms and natural disasters in the area, where Martin’s was able to produce extra bread and rolls to provide for those affected. He also says, “A few years ago, when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, we were able to send product to the area to help with the relief efforts, which I thought was pretty cool.”
Most employees say their favorite memory from working at Martin’s was interacting with the Martin family or doing activities with their coworkers. But one of Scott’s favorite memories from Martin’s was actually meeting his wife here! He says, “She was working as a seasonal employee just like me. It turns out we were going to the same college, so we eventually started to date. We have been married for 16 years and have 3 wonderful kids.”
All in all, Scott echoes the other employees in that he also loves Martin’s family atmosphere. He says, “I think there’s a benefit to the company being family owned and operated. We get to see the Martins around the facility and talk to them. Jim Martin actually left a voice message congratulating me for 20 years of work.” He also notes the character of the family as something that makes Martin’s stand out from other employers: “I believe putting God first is what makes Martin’s stand out. The amount that Martin’s donates to charity every year is pretty amazing. They donate a lot and still are able to run a successful business.”
Thanks to the Martin family’s hard work (and all the people who later came to work alongside them), Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe went from a small garage bakery to a full operation with two bakeries and one corporate office, providing rolls and bread to customers up and down the East Coast and to Chicago, Nashville, and New Orleans. But it is also thanks to them that this business began and remains American family owned and operated and really feels like a family workplace, something that makes Martin’s Famous Potato Rolls and Bread truly unique.
If you’d like to apply to work at Martin’s and become a part of the family of employees, please visit potatorolls.com/jobs.
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