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About Gilster-Mary Lee Corporation

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially at Gilster-Mary Lee. One of the largest private-label cereal manufacturers in the US (behind Ralcorp Holdings), Gilster-Mary Lee makes more than 8,000 products more than 500 private labels, including breakfast cereal, cake, baking mixes, cocoa and other drink mixes, dinner mixes, pasta, and more. The family-owned company's customers include major US grocery chains, food wholesalers, including Pinnacle Foods, and foodservice operators. It operates about 15 manufacturing plants in four states and its products are available worldwide.


The company operates some 15 manufacturing plants, and boasts its own fleet of trucks, which delivers Gilster's products to customers in Canada and the US. It also ships products overseas.

Geographic Reach

With plants in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri. Illinois-based Gilster-Mary Lee provides its products worldwide.

Sales and Marketing

Gilster-Mary Lee markets is product online.


To boost its output of shredded wheat cereals, Gilster-Mary Lee has been investing in its production facilities in recent years. The company added conveying equipment, rotary cereal cookers, shredding rolls, and a roughly 230-ft. cereal oven that was specially designed to its production line. Gilster's facilities upgrade comes amid rising demand for more affordable private-label food products -- cereals included.

In 2014 the company sold its Centralia, Illinois, production facility -- which for more than 15 years has been responsible for making Duncan Hines products for Pinnacle Foods under a third-party manufacturing agreement -- to Pinnacle Foods.

The company is also expanding its product offering and production capacity through acquisitions.

Company Background

In mid-2012 Gilster-Mary Lee acquired the assets of family-owned, Indiana-based Little Crow Foods, including FastShake pancake mixes, Fryin' Magic and Baking Miracle seasoned coating mixes, and Miracle Maize corn bread and muffin mixes, as well as inventory, product formulas, and equipment. Gilster will continue to market the acquired brands under their established names.

The Gilster family founded the company as a flour mill in 1895. It is run by the great-nephews of the company's founders.

Gilster-Mary Lee Corporation

Chester, IL 62233-1657
Phone: 1 (618) 826-2361

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Privately Owned
President and CEO: Donald Welge
CFO: Michael Welge
Sanitation Safety Director: Lisa Woodside
Employees (This Location): 600
Employees (All Locations): 4,200

Major Office Locations

Chester, IL

Other Locations

Wilson, AR
Centralia, IL
Chester, IL
Momence, IL
Ridgway, IL
Sparta, IL
Steeleville, IL
Jasper, MO
Joplin, MO
Mc Bride, MO
Perryville, MO