History of

McGlynn Bakeries

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Decorated cakes became an increasingly large portion of McGlynn Bakeries sales after Burt's wife, Pat, suggested decorating cakes in front of the customers in 1966. Customers always wanted the latest, greatest toys and figurines on special occasion cakes. Whether it was fire engine or a baseball themed cake, they wanted their birthday cake to be special.


Firetruck Cake

As the decorated cake business grew, McGlynn's was purchasing cake decorations from local bakery supply businesses. But, by 1973, McGlynn's inventory of decorations was constantly out of stock because the bakery supply businesses were not focused on anticipating McGlynn's needs. Something had to change. So, McGlynn's began purchasing toys and decorations directly from Asia to keep up with demand forecasting the busy holiday needs around Halloween, Christmas, graduation and wedding cake season. A designated warehouse area of McGlynn's Eden Prairie plant was focused on purchasing and supplying all the McGlynn's locations with these cake decorations.


One of the difficult aspects was being able to show the customers what their cake would look like. The cake decorating need to be standardized. By the late 1970's, McGlynn's produced its first in-store book, The Magic of Cakes®, filled with colorful decorated cakes - making it easier for consumers to select and order cakes.


The Magic of Cakes Book

The Magic Of Cakes Book

In the early 1980's, the TV show Dukes of Hazzard was extremely popular. The demand for Dukes of Hazzard themed birthday cakes was tremendous. A McGlynn's caked decorator in a Target store went into the store, bought the General Lee cars from Target and put them on cakes. The results were astounding. So many Dukes of Hazzard cars were sold that McGlynn's went to the toy company and began buying the cars direct. It soon became evident there was a need for someone to focus on marketing cake decorations as a one-stop company to all bakers.


In 1982, the cake decorations supply business was launched as DecoPac to supply the entire baking industry. DecoPac exhibited at industry associations marketing pre-packaged cake decorating kits, called DecoSets®, to supermarkets, retail bakeries and bakery distributors.


DecoPac Display Booth

DecoPac Display Booth at Convention

About that same time, a rumor was passing through the baking industry that Disney was going to begin investigating bakers that are illegally drawing Disney properties on cakes - such as Mickey Mouse. In order to circumvent trouble from Disney, DecoPac contacted Disney to work out a better, long-term solution. What if DecoPac bought Disney toys for cakes, paid Disney a royalty and then used the toys on their own cakes as well as making them available to all other bakers? Disney thought it was a good idea and after months of negotiation, a relationship with DecoPac was cemented.


Mike McGlynn Minnie Mickey

Mike seals deal with Mickey & Minnie

By 1987, DecoPac began developing relationships with other licensors. This gave DecoPac the ability to market cake decorating products featuring popular characters and brands from Disney, Nickelodeon™,Warner Bros., Mattel®, Hasbro®, DreamWorks®, MARVEL®, Lucasfilm® and team logos from the NHL®, NBA, NFL, MLB® and others. This provided bakers a legal avenue to purchase the most popular cake decorating items in the country. It was easy - buy from DecoPac and all royalties would be paid by DecoPac to the licensors.


In 1992, the McGlynn's plant in Eden Prairie was sold to Pillsbury along with McGlynn's frozen bakery business. DecoPac needed to find a new headquarters, warehouse and shipping location. DecoPac moved to Fridley, a northern suburb of Minneapolis in an existing warehouse with room to expand. DecoPac would expand their space several times in Fridley to about 125,000 sq. ft. by 2005.


Another opportunity for DecoPac was to figure a way to add photographs to cake. Customers wanted a graduation picture or a some other family picture on their special occasion cake. The old method was to use an actual photograph and wrap it in plastic before applying to the cake. This method was difficult because the customer had to physically supply the picture. In 1998, DecoPac introduced the first PhotoCake® Print on Demand Cake Decorating Solution. Bakers could scan a photo and print it with food coloring on a thin layer of "edible paper" to be placed on a cake.
Early PhotoCake Printer

Early PhotoCake Printer

Photo Cakes

Photo Cakes

Also in 1998, DecoPac also expanded into Europe with the acquisition of Culpitt, Ltd., the United Kingdom’s largest cake decoration manufacturer and distributor. In 1999, Culpitt, Ltd. acquired Cake Art, Ltd., a distributor of cake decorations serving retail bakeries in the United Kingdom.
Original Culpitt Plant

Culpitt Plant in UK

In January, 2001, the company split into two entities – DecoPac, Inc. and McGlynn Bakeries, LLC. Both companies remained family owned and operated. Burt McGlynn's sons Mike and Dan operate DecoPac and McGlynn Bakeries, respectively. Employing over 1,000, both companies were growing rapidly.


In a continuation of making special occasion cakes even easier to order, in 2002, DecoPac launched Cakes.com, a website designed to help consumers find a cake, find a bakery and place orders online. In addition, Cakes.com also provides bakeries with another way to promote their business.


In 2005, with business still growing at about 8 to 10 percent per year and over 35,000 customers, DecoPac needed substantially more space to grow. The McGlynn's and some partners purchased a 335,000 square foot facility in Anoka, MN and DecoPac signed a deal to occupy 200,000 sq. ft. Plans ensured that the new facility had the latest receiving, warehousing, picking and shipping technologies available. The warehouse was especially impressive, having a state-of-art automated materials-handling system, allowing it to ship its products to businesses more efficiently.


By this point, DecoPac's 190 U.S. based employees were focused on shipping thousands of cartons every day to its customers, which range from small independent bakeries, ice cream shops, and large retailers, such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The company was selling more than 5,000 types of decorations. The move to the new facility happened in 2006 without missing a single customer order!


DecoPac Headquarters in Anoka, MN

As business grew in the United Kingdom with over 160 employees, in 2009 Culpitt acquired yet another company. Sugarfayre was the leading producer of printed fondant (pliable icing) in the U.K.


In yet another move to enhance the one-stop shop for cake decorations, in 2009 DecoPac signed on as the master distributor of Lucks Food Decorating Company, a leader in edible cake decorations.


By 2011, DecoPac employed more than 500 had annual sales in excess of $125 million.


In 2013, DecoPac introduced a web application that serves as a digital cake book and in-store online ordering solution for bakeries with The Magic of Cakes® Kiosk. The kiosk was a walk-up and order computer which allowed customers to order a cake without the help of a sales associate.


Magic of Cakes Kiosk

Magic of Cakes Kiosk

Culpitt continued its acquisition march in 2015 by purchasing The Craft Company in England to sell cake decorating products to at-home cake decorators in England and Europe.


Throughout DecoPac's history, one competitor stood high above the others. But, in 2015, after years of negotiation, Mike McGlynn finalized a deal to purchase Bakery Crafts®, bringing more than 150 years of combined bakery and cake decorating knowledge to customers across the globe. This move provided additional scale and product lines, and even greater creativity, marketing, design and development capabilities—to enhance product offerings and capabilities for customers and consumers. By now, there were over 20,000 customers.



Bakery Crafts Acquired

Bakery Crafts Acquisition

In September, 2017 DecoPac was sold to private equity firm Snow Phipps. In the year following the Snow Phipps transaction, DecoPac purchased The Lucks Food Decorations Company. Lucks has two production facilities in Seattle and Tacoma, Washington. This move technically ended the family business majority ownership of the McGlynn Bakeries empire. But, several McGlynn's remained minority owners in the DecoPac company.


In May, 2021 DecoPac was sold again, to Kohlberg & Company, L.L.C. and several McGlynn family members continued their minority ownership in DecoPac.