Jubelt’s Bakery and Restaurant in Litchfield, Illinois, has been named Business of the Year by that city’s chamber of commerce, one year from Jubelt’s 100th anniversary.
Jeanmarie Jubelt, owner of Jubelt’s, told The Journal-News she was “shocked” by the honor and noted it wasn’t easy staying in operation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The newspaper had this history of the business at 303 N. Route 66:
Jeanmarie is the third generation to take the helm of Jubelt’s Bakery, which was founded in May 1922 by her grandfather, Paul, and his brothers, Fred and Albert. The Jubelt brothers purchased an existing bakery in Mt. Olive, then a heavy mining town, and most of their early business was centered around baking bread. By 1935, the partnership had dissolved, leaving Paul Jubelt with the Mt. Olive location. His son, John, started working in the family business at around 12 years old. Following a stint in the US Army, where he served in Korea, John returned home to take over the bakery. Over the next 40 years, he and his wife, Iris Dawkins, grew the bakery, opening locations in downtown Litchfield, Taylorville, Staunton, Gillespie, Carlinville, Jerseyville, Lincoln and even Springfield. They also expanded into the wholesale business, supplying baked goods to independent grocers.
The couple was the force behind expanding the Litchfield bakery into a restaurant. It was a subtle shift that began with prepackaged sandwiches and would eventually be the saving grace of the family business. They moved on from the vending machine-style items to offer freshly made sandwiches, salads and soups in all of their stores. Jeanmarie’s older brother, Lance, joined their parents at Jubelt’s in 1977, and they started looking for a larger location. They bought their current building on Route 66 in 1982 and really began focusing on growing the restaurant. […]
It was in the early 2000s that Jeanmarie, then a financial advisor living in Chicago, returned home to help her father and brother with the bakery – both in declining health. After their deaths, Jeanmarie found herself with some tough choices to make, including closing all of the Jubelt’s bakeries with the exception of the Litchfield location.
Revenue at Jubelt’s began growing again about three years after Jeanmarie took over. She also was fortunate enough to implement an online ordering system three months before the COVID-related shutdowns. Jubelt’s also began offering groceries and deli items. Sales saw only a relatively moderate decline during the pandemic, and she was able to keep all her staff employed.
Jubelt’s also is a member of the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame.
Here’s a video produced by the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway from 2013 about Jubelt’s:
(Image of Jubelt’s in Litchfield, Illinois, via Facebook)