Our StorySnavely’s Mill is a story of family and longevity. We are a privately owned, family-run business spanning 143+ years. We have weathered wars, dug out from depressions, rebounded from recessions, and stayed the course each time a mishap or Mother Nature threw us a curve ball. Our business has risen to challenges and succeeded for one reason: steadfast dedication to our family’s legacy. Never a day goes by that we don’t give thanks to the generations of pioneering Snavely men and women who came before us, for we exist today because of their perseverance and sacrifice.
Building upon the generations before us
Six generations of the Snavely family have devoted their lives to making the finest flours possible. We began in the age of water-powered gristmills, then upgraded to coal-fired, followed by diesel. Today, our four mills in Central and Southeastern Pennsylvania employ the most modern electric flour milling equipment available. John Snavely, the first owner, would be pleased to know that the mill he purchased in 1875 and passed to his son in 1890 has remained in continuous Snavely ownership ever since. He would be proud that generations of his descendants responded in all-hands-on-deck mode when faced with fires, floor collapses and other devastating mishaps. Today, Snavely’s Mill is now in the very capable hands of Doug, Dan and Dave Snavely—sons of the 5th generation owner, Gerald. And, yes, you guessed it: their children are earnest about learning the business and contributing to the Snavely family legacy.
Today, Snavely’s Mill operates four state-of-the-art milling operations in Lititz, Mill Hall, Mifflinville, and Palmyra Pennsylvania, and we are a trusted brand of choice for artesian bakers, commercial bakers, CPG manufacturers, distributors and the foodservice industry. Our current milling capacity is 19,200 one hundredweight (cwt.) of flour per day, and we can store 870,000 bushels of wheat at any given time.
We are who we are today, thanks to six generations of Snavelys who have been honing their milling expertise since our country was in its infancy. The original mill in Lititz, Pennsylvania, was built in 1790 by Christian Eby, destroyed in 1850 by fire, then rebuilt. In 1875, that mill was purchased by John Snavely. In 1890, John passed the mill to his son, David, who installed two turbine water wheels. The next owner of the mill was David’s nephew, Ben, who purchased it in 1906 and installed a diesel engine to supply power when the spillway got low. In 1941, Ben passed operations to his son, Lincoln (Miles), who added nine grain bins and unloading equipment. In 1976, an Italian Roncaglia mill was installed, increasing capacity from 144 to 625 (cwt.) per day and bringing the mill into the bulk flour arena. In 1985—the same year a fire destroyed the mill—Miles’ son, Gerald, purchased the mill. Gerald turned that bad luck into good fortune, by committing to modernize. In doing so, he paved the way for the Snavely family legacy to continue and reap success into the 21st Century.
Deeply ingrained in the Snavely family is a passion to do right by others. From assisting in relief efforts for hurricane and flood victims in faraway states to supporting local organizations such as the Lebanon County Special Olympics, Lancaster County 4-H Program, Pennsylvania Future Farmers Association, and Make-A-Wish Foundation, we believe in giving back. Our family will never forget how the compassion of others helped to save our business when a fire reduced the original Lititz mill to rubble in 1985. Jerry Snavely, who headed Snavely’s Mill at the time, was touched when 150 neighbors showed up to help him and his sons clean up the mess. “The men brought equipment and labor, while the women cooked meals. Then they thanked me for allowing them to help us. That kind of generosity changed my life. Suddenly, I knew I could go on. Things were not as bad as they seemed,” he said.