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BAMA COMPANIES

Founded in 1927 in Dallas, Texas, by Henry and Alabama Marshall, the Bama Pie Shop originally served a small clientele but gradually had customers in other Texas communities. The Marshalls' son Paul established a branch in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1937 that became the company's headquarters. In 1965 Bama Pie Company became a major supplier of fried fruit pies for McDonald's restaurants, ensuring the bakery's future. In 1984 Paula Marshall-Chapman, the founders' granddaughter, became the guiding force and chief executive officer of The Bama Companies, Inc., and Bama Foods Ltd. Major products are flour-based items such as biscuits, pies, and cookies, as well as frozen dough. These are globally marketed for resale in restaurants such as McDonald's and Pizza Hut and for use by food service companies such as Nabisco. Total daily production exceeds two million biscuits and over one million pies. By 2003 the company employed nine hundred persons at multiple locations in Tulsa and elsewhere, including a facility in Beijing, China, opened in 1992 for the international market. The Bama Companies chose to stay in Tulsa because of the city's location in mid-America and its transportation facilities, such as the Port of Catoosa. At the end of the twentieth century the company was one of the nation's largest manufacturers of flour-based products and participated in the Oklahoma Department of Commerce's Quality Jobs Program.

SEE ALSO: COLONIAL BAKERY, JOHN KROUTIL, OKLAHOMA ECONOMY, SHAWNEE MILLS.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: "Bama Companies," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. John Hamill, Tulsa: The Great American City (Montgomery, Ala.: Community Communications, Inc., 2000). Laurie Winslow, "Bama Pie Cooking Up More Jobs," Tulsa (Oklahoma) World, 4 December 2003.

Dianna Everett

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