Growing a family business

by Charlotte Atchley
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When Mariano Turano immigrated to the US from Italy, he brought home with him. In founding Turano Baking Co., Chicago, Mr. Turano and his brother Eugenio introduced bread recipes from their native Italy to their new home. Continuing this legacy are Mariano’s three sons — Renato (Ron), Umberto (Tony) and Giancarlo.

For the impact of their artisan-style Italian breads, Mariano (pictured here), Eugenio, Ron, Tony and Giancarlo will be inducted into ASB’s Hall of Fame.

Mariano got his start baking in his native Italy on a stone hearth oven. The skill served him as a POW in World War II. After the war, Mariano was discouraged by the weakening Italian economy and what it would mean for his growing family. He moved his wife and three sons to the US in 1957. The Turanos settled in the Chicago area, where other relatives had already made new lives for themselves.

Mariano found work in sewer construction but baked bread on the side, a family recipe, for other Italian families in the neighborhood. The popularity of his homemade bread led Mariano to give up sewer construction and start leasing oven space from his brother Carmine’s grocery store bakery to keep up with demand. In 1962, Mariano purchased Campagna Bakery and renamed it Campagna Bakery, Mario Turano and Sons. In 1965, he merged his bakery with one started by his brother Eugenio and Carmine’s son Guerino, opening the 2,000-sq-ft Turano Baking Co. in Berwyn, IL, turning out a maximum of 200 loaves of bread a day. In 1969, Mariano’s sons Ron and Tony bought Guerino’s share in the business, and Giancarlo joined the business after graduating from Loyola University Chicago. Turano Baking Co. introduced automation in 1974, and at that time, Turano bread was available in neighborhood grocery stores. The company began national distribution in 1982.

Mariano passed away in 1989, but his three sons continued his legacy. Ron, Tony and Giancarlo got started early in the business, helping their father in the bakery and delivering bread on bicycles when Mariano was still leasing oven space from Carmine’s bakery. The brothers were eventually promoted from bicycle deliveries to leading the company. Ron became president of Turano Baking Co. Tony, who always had a love of baking, took on the operations side of the business. When Ron made the move to chairman of the board, Tony took over as president. Giancarlo, blessed with Mariano’s talent for selling, became vice-president of sales and marketing.

Under their leadership, the bakery expanded into Bolingbrook, IL, with Turano Knead Dough Bakery. This facility enabled the company to expand into breadsticks, baguettes, sub rolls, hamburger buns and mini rolls. Turano Berwyn handled local sales, providing bread to the entire Chicago area. The company continued to grow with Turano Georgia Bread in Villa Rica, GA, for pan bread and hearth baking and Turano Florida Bun, a high-speed bun plant in Orlando, FL. Later, the Turanos added freezing capabilities to the Berwyn plant. With par-baked frozen bread products now in the company’s portfolio, Turano Baking Co. has expanded its distribution throughout the US and Canada.

The Turanos have also been a staple in the industry, serving as officers of national baking industry. All three brothers now sit on Turano Baking Co.’s board of directors, making way for the third generation to continue the Turano tradition. 

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