The idea of a baker’s supply cooperative came from Frances E. Quigley. After serving in World War II, Fran became a bakery supply salesman in Neenah, Wis. The end of price controls had led to dramatic price rises for ingredients and supplies. The small bakers Fran served were reluctant to pass those increases on to customers. They needed a way to lower their costs. Quigley suggested they combine their purchasing power in a cooperative. This would also allow them to reduce time and expense spent on ordering, storing and delivery. To Fran’s small bakery customers, the idea made sense.
With Fran leading the way, Valley Cooperative Association was born. The idea took off and the co-op began a steady climb. VCA has been offering a cost-effective method for members to buy supplies and stay competitive ever since. Quigley attributed the co-op’s success to those he worked with:
“I must admit to a feeling of amazement and gratification at the growth and success of VCA. There are many, many people who have been responsible for making this all happen… [VCA] has a staff of well-qualified, dedicated people in all departments, who are making contributions to VCA’s continuing success.”
VCA membership has grown impressively over the years. Members include retail and wholesale bakeries, supermarket bakeries, donut shops, pizza restaurants, candy makers, institutional food service companies and others.
In 2003, Fran passed away in Mesa, Ariz. He was 87 years old. He was born in Iowa in 1915; he served in the U.S. Army in Germany during World War II. His vision and tireless energy transformed VCA from a fledgling idea into an influential force in the baking industry in Wisconsin — and beyond.
Pat began his career at Valley Bakers in the late 60’s and was appointed Secretary and General Manager in January of 1980, at the time of Fran Quigley’s retirement. Over the next three years, Pat was very instrumental in the rapid sales increase as the company opened markets in Madison, Eau Claire and the U.P. of Michigan. Pat was able to consolidate shipping points and build a brand new, state of the art facility on Ehlers Road in Neenah which was used for many years before the company moved to Greenville WI.
Chuck served as our Chief Operating Officer for nearly two decades until his unexpected death in 2001. With wife Judy by his side, Chuck was the heart and soul of VCA. His contributions included expanding our product offering, adding cold storage, and launching Bakers Supply and Progressive Warehousing. His innovation and leadership was central to making VCA what it is today.
Mark served as the President and CEO of Valley from 2001 until his retirement in 2020. Mark was a great visionary and took Valley to new heights by developing the Valley Family of Companies into an industry leader in their respective categories.
Rich is currently the CEO of Valley beginning in March 2020. Since graduating from college in 1994, Rich has spent his entire working career strengthening the Valley community by building relationships with Valley’s suppliers, members and co-workers. Rich’s vision for Valley’s unique culture is proudly represented in “The Valley Way” fundamentals. Keeping with the tradition of wanting Valley to be different from other companies, these fundamentals are the foundation of Valley.