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Wellman Foods

Retailer

Upon arrival in San Francisco, Bela Wellman erected a building on Kearny Street using lumber he had shipped with him from Panama. He established an auction and commission business in the building under the name of B. Wellman and Company and soon specialized in groceries. The business continued after the building on Kearny Street burned in 1851. Wellman formed the partnership of Verplanck, Wellman and Company in 1861, and the company was renamed Wellman, Peck and Company when John M. Peck purchased Verplanck's interest in 1863. By 1880 the company employed 30 men in a Pacific importing and wholesale business amounting to two million dollars annually. The firm was California's largest manufacturing wholesale grocer in 1941, when it sponsored the Wellman Valor Award Medal for acts of bravery by Californians. The company marketed coffee, green beans, and marmalade as Wellman "Flavor Famous" Foods through the first half of the 20th century. The large red neon WELLMAN COFFEE sign was a mid-20th century San Francisco landmark from San Francisco Bay.

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