Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Delicious Case of Who-Donut

During the ~month I spent proofreading my first book, I traversed a decent portion of the Washington Heights neighborhood.

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I hardly ever followed this exact route; my travels were more reminiscent of that blond kid from Family Circus.

But just about every day I did pass the storefront that formerly hosted Gruenebaum's Bakery. For as long as I've lived in my current apartment (June 2008 or so) that location has been empty, with various For Rent signs posted in the windows. But the overhead signage of the bakery remains, signage that looks remarkably like these photographs I took earlier this morning:


It took a solid month of looking at this logo to realize why it looks so darn familiar.

Compare that bakery logo with this one:


Two bakeries, both with a sapphire shade of blue, both with this lilting script of a font, both with prominent underlining, and both with exaggerated capital letters. There are some differences--most obviously the script used for the closing "s" in each logo--but the similarities are more pronounced than the differences.

I snooped around the internet a bit, and discovered that Entenmann's was founded in Brooklyn by a German immigrant in 1898. Their stylistic and baked-goods competitor, Gruenebaum's, according to an April 6, 2001 article in The New York Jewish Week, was " Frankfurt, Germany, early in the 20th century." The article continues:
The Frankfurt bakery closed its doors in 1938 and the family immigrated to the United States in 1940. Banin's father worked for different bakeries until 1957, when he bought out a store on 177th Street and Broadway. In 1961, he opened Gruenbaum's on 181st Street and "the place took off. Bakeries was all my father did," says Banin. "That was what he knew."
I haven't been able to find any reference to the histories of these two (or, maybe, one) logos. I don't know if one bakery initiated the blue, lilting logo craze before its competitor "borrowed" the design. I do know this, though: I will continue my investigation of this story, and The Daily Snowman will continue to be the internet's premier source for investigative journalism in the field of corporate logos, especially baked goods.

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