All in the Family

As far back as 1882, the Hawkins family has been in the food business. But not until just after WWII, did Ed Hawkins Sr. receive the inspiration that would lead to the great taste customers have come to expect from Litehouse products.

1949

Answered Prayer

In 1949, Ed was a chef in Spokane, WA when his boss complained about the poor quality of the blue cheese dressing they served on salads. Ed responded to the challenge in an unorthodox manner: he prayed about it. The answer to his prayer was a blend of mayonnaise, spices, crumbled blue cheese and buttermilk. To his knowledge, his original recipe was the first creamy blue cheese dressing.

1958

Buying The Restaurant

 In 1958, Edward and his wife Lorena purchased Hurschell's Lighthouse restaurant located on the shores of the Lake Pend Oreille in Hope Idaho, a tourist town with the population of 200 and a booming summer trade. People enjoyed the dressing served at dinner so much, they would bring in empty jars to fill with dressing to take home.

1963

BUILDING A BUSINESS

In 1963 Edward and Lorena scraped together enough money to purchase 12 cases of jars and had Aunt Ethel Ashley design a logo for a label. The family mixed the dressing by hand in soup kettles. The first jars of Litehouse Salad Dressing were sold to the produce department of Rogers Thrift in Sandpoint, Idaho. A freshly made 16 oz. jar of Litehouse Bleu Cheese dressing cost $0.89 and Litehouse Thousand Island cost $0.79.

1978

DRIVING GROWTH

During the 1970s, Litehouse began to expand their distribution throughout the northwest. Until that time, sales and delivery were done by Doug and Edward Hawkins who would drive around the tri-state area stopping store to store.

 

As the decade came to a close, Litehouse operations had outgrown their Datsun pickup truck. Rapid expansion required a larger space and more employees. The family decided to move the business to Sandpoint, Idaho, where it currently operates today.

1984

SOME NEW BEGINNINGS

In 1984, Edward Sr. passed away, and with him the family's desire to be in the restaurant business. In 1988 with 12 retail products and facing no growth for 4 years, Doug and Edward Jr. developed a business plan expanding on what Litehouse did best: make great products and employ dedicated people to make these products.

1997

A STEP BACK IN TIME AND A STEP FORWARD FOR LITEHOUSE

With a strong portfolio of retail products, Litehouse merged with Chadalee Farms Inc. of Lowell, Michigan, a company with tremendous background in food service and horseradish products dating back to 1893.

1997

EXPANDING THE RANGE

During this era of changing landscapes in produce departments, Litehouse expanded its offerings of innovative products to include freeze dried herbs, meat marinades, dressing packs for salad bars, dips for vegetable trays, caramel dip, and other complementary food products.

2001

BRINGING IN THE EXPERTS

In 2001, Litehouse leased the 50 year old Pend Oreille Cheese Company and started making handcrafted blue cheese as the ingredient for the famous blue cheese dressing. Soon afterward Litehouse started selling blue cheese crumbles and wheels in produce and deli departments.

2006

A REWARD WELL EARNED

By 2004 Litehouse reached $100 million in annual sales volume and by 2006 made the strategic and employee-focused decision to transfer 30% of its ownership to its employees. And by 2014, the company was 100% employee-owned.

NOW

ONWARD AND UPWARD

From a small restaurant to a leading producer and marketer of refrigerated salad dressings, cheeses, dips, sauces, apple cider, and freeze dried herbs, Litehouse is a leader in the food industry with innovation and great consumer products, keeping a strong commitment to the employees and communities in which they operate.

"THESE SAME PRINCIPLES OF PERSEVERANCE, LEADERSHIP AND SERVICE GUIDE US TODAY AND IT IS IN THIS SPIRIT THAT WE DELIVER THESE GUIDING PRINCIPLES"

Doug Hawkins