History of Zeigler's
In 1932, Maurice Henry (M.H.) Zeigler was working for Ford Motor Co. during the Depression. As the father of 6 children, Maurice needed additional income during those difficult economic times. His father had fruit orchards and Maurice could remember seeing apple cider pressed as a child at home. This memory stayed with him, and in 1932 he decided to build a press in the garage behind his row home on Chestnut street in Lansdale.
From the mid 1930's through the late 1940's, Maurice would make and deliver cider on Saturday's with the help of his 6 children. He sold door to door in the surrounding areas of Lansdale and Norristown. With a mind for quality and customer service, the sideline cider business of Maurice Zeigler flourished. By the early 1940's, he had outgrown his garage and purchased a plot of land on Broad street Lansdale (surrounded then only by field). He moved his cider operation there and quit his job at Ford to pursue his business full time.
While all 6 children helped out with the cider business, in time the two sons and son-in-law of Maurice got involved in a greater way. Together they prepared to produce and sell more product. They began wholesaling cider to the many road stand outlets that were around during that time. This proved successful, and with the development and growth of the supermarket industry, they began serving supermarkets with direct store delivery, all the while phasing out home deliveries. In time, they were serving many stores directly in the Philadelphia and New Jersey area. Success at store level was great, and before long numerous supermarket chains began calling the product into their warehouse distribution system. This effort took place over 20 years, a time during which the business was incorporated (1968) and ownership passed from M.H. Zeigler to his two sons (Paul & Ken Zeigler) and son-in-law (Harvey Freed) in 1972.
During the 1980's, the third generation of the Zeigler family grew more involved. This third generation included two sons and/or a son-in-law from each of the three second generation owners. This third generation brought a youthful sense of energy and renewed desire for growth to the business. The 6 members of the third generation brought a varied number of talents to the business which complimented one another. Seeing that fresh apple cider was something yet unavailable in a large part of the country, a new sales approach and effort were embarked upon to increase the geographic area where Zeigler's does business. Through the 1980's and early 90's, Zeigler's introduced its cider from Baltimore/ Wash. D.C. all the way South to Florida and West to Texas. In recent years, these introductions have spread to other areas of the country, including New England, parts of the Midwest, and even California. To date, Zeigler's cider is available in 32 States during the Fall season. While many areas are in early stages of development, the future potential of these new markets is exciting.
As the third generation of the Zeigler family became more involved, the company grew rapidly. Dealing with this growth by organizing the company internally (as a business) was critical. As the third generation of the Zeigler family faced this challenge, numerous discussions led them to a belief that for Zeigler's to flourish and grow in the future, "ownership" status needed to be clearly separated from "employee" roles. This involved re-organizing their own jobs as employees and setting up an atmosphere where Zeigler's could be structured internally as a business, with proper departments, organization of job duties, and accountability. This effort was undertaken in early 1991. Involved in this re-organization was a transfer of ownership from the second to third generation in late 1992. The re-organization was completed during 1994, as a seasoned plant manager and Director of Sales & Marketing (both non-owners) were hired from the outside to lead two of Zeigler's four departments.
Today, Zeigler's is full of energy and determination for the future. The strength of its family history, matched with its new approach to dealing with growth and preparing for the future, makes Zeigler's potential promising indeed.