Mennel: Through the generations

by Arvin Donley
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Don Mennel is a fourth-generation miller and understandably proud that his family has been producing flour for more than 120 years.

In 1886, his great-grandfather, Alphonse Mennel, was hired as general superintendent of the Harter Milling Company, which opened a flour mill that year in Fostoria, Ohio, U.S. At the time of its construction, the mill, which had a capacity of 1,500 barrels per day, was the largest flour mill in the country not located next to water.

In 1897, a year after Alphonse Mennel became president of the mill, the structure burned to the ground. It was rebuilt, and today the recently renovated Fostoria facility is capable of producing 17,000 cwts (809 tonnes) of flour per day.

The company was renamed Mennel Milling Company in 1917 when Alphonse Mennel and sons Louis and Mark purchased the business from the Harters. In 1958, Louis’ son, Donald M. Mennel, became president of the company, and under his leadership the company committed to soft wheat flour milling and specialty flour production. He eventually handed control of the company over to his son and current president, Donald L. Mennel.

In addition to its mill in Fostoria, Mennel has flour milling operations in Roanoke, Virginia, U.S. (10,000 cwts per day), Dowagiac, Michigan, U.S. (5,500 cwts), Bucyrus, Ohio, U.S. (5,000 cwts) and Mount Olive, Illinois, U.S. (2,200 cwts). Mennel was listed as having the eighth-largest milling capacity among U.S. mills in the 2007 Grain & Milling Annual.