An Entertaining & Informative Vintage Automobile Internet Magazine

“Oh Mom! Here Comes the Omar Man”

Beginning in the early-1900s to as late as the 1970s in most locations in the US, the automobile and later the motor truck were used for home delivery of baked goods, groceries, milk products, and other commodities.

In the Midwest, the Omar Baking Co. opened for business in Omaha, Nebraska in 1923 when William Coad constructed a building in the City for use as a bakery. Later Coad purchased the Lord Auto Co. building located at 17th and O Streets in Omaha and converted it into a branch location for the home delivery of baked goods by the “Omar Man.”

Coad later opened other Bakery’s in Indianapolis, Indiana, and Columbus, Ohio, in 1927, and a fourth, reported to be located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at some point.

  • The first Omar Bakery branch location in Omaha, Nebraska with a fleet of Dodge trucks in 1940.

In the 1930s and ’40s the Company was using Dodge vans for the delivery of its goods, and at some point switched to using standard Chevrolet “Advanced Design” panel trucks produced between 1947 to ’55. This brings us to today’s interesting lead image of an “Omar Man” holding a matching tote tray complete with trim posing with a Chevy light truck with an attractive and up-to-date van body.

This truck features streamlined and unique coachwork trimmed with extruded aluminum panels by an unknown maker for Omar. The construction brings to mind the General Motors Futurliners and leaves us to wonder if this truck was a one-off concept by GM for possible limited production, or was this design produced by an independent maker for Omar?

The lead photo is via contributor Benjamin Ames and the Omaha Factory branch image is courtesy of the “Lincoln Journal Star.”

25 responses to ““Oh Mom! Here Comes the Omar Man”

    • I was born and raised in the small town of West Jefferson, Ohio and my uncle was our Omar man for many years. He always had hostess cupcakes and chocolate milk for us kids. Such a great memory. I remember thinking how fun it would be to ride in a truck with the door open.

  1. Our “everything” delivery company in Tennessee in the 50’s was Jewel Tea. Loved it, Momma even bought a vacuum cleaner ( on payments) from them. The driver was a neat little guy that always knocked on the door with a big aluminum “basket” holding his new and often used stuff.

    • Jewel Tea also operated in NE Ohio (in the small town of Geneva) during pre-WW2 years. Over the space of several years my Grandmother Ehrke managed to collect a full set of Havilland china as a reward for purchasing food from the Jewel delivery man. The china is still in the family!

  2. I’m from Milwaukee, and I ought to know,,,( Blatz beer jingle) but I never heard of Omar bakery, I read, they closed in the mid 60’s, and was located on W. Clybourn Ave. near downtown Milwaukee. Milwaukee had a TON of bakeries. Lot of immigrants from other countries settled in Milwaukee after the war, and many brought with them such delicious stuff.
    Check out the guy in the lead photo, I bet he simply loved his job.

    • I lived in Milwaukee then, and still recall the jingle! “I’m the Omar man…knockin’ at your door, when you taste my bread…you’re gonna want more. ” Yes everbody loves those cookies and cakes, and the wonderful things that Omar makes: O M A R – Get it from the Omar man!

  3. Great memories. Lived in the Chicago burbs and Peter Wheat was the bakery. Remember that one time we talked him into giving us a box of donuts and “put ’em on mom’s bill”. . .

    Thought he had a Ford delivery truck but can’t find anything online that matches my recollection.

    • “I’m the Omar man…knockin’ at your door, when you taste my bread…you’re gonna want more. ” Yes everbody loves those cookies and cakes, and the wonderful things that Omar makes: O M A R – Get it from the Omar man!

      • Chuck Keleske “My Dad” along with my grandfather “Art Dahl” were Omar men in Racine WI. Art retired..Omar presented him with a mantel clock that I still have on my fireplace mantel. Dad was still employed till the company went out of business in the 60’s. Those guys along with all employees worked 5 days a week from 5AM arriving home around 6 PM…2 weeks a yr paid Va-K. Ahhh, memories !!

  4. Beloit, Wisconsin had an Omar Bakery with home delivery. My uncle was the accountant there in the 50s. Beloit Dye Works, a dry cleaners, delivered to our house with a red 3/4 ton Chevrolet panel truck which I thought was way past cool. Three dairy’s delivered as well. Our milk was delivered from Borden dairy. Elsie the cow was their mascot. They drove Divco Wyanes.

    • I believe the bakery was located either in alley behind the old Rex theater maybe it was Fifth St. Also in the very early 1950’S I was about 10 years and lived on what is now Free Church rd. in Boone County an Omar panel truck started sliding on the road which was gravel and rolled over throwing cream filled cupcakes all over the road. They were very good to a ten year old boy.

    “I’m the Omar man, (tap, tap, tap)
    knocking at your door (rappa tap tap).
    When you taste my bread (mmmm boy!),
    you’re gonna want more (rappa tap tap).
    Yes, everyone loves those cookies and cakes
    and even the wonderful bread the Omar bakes!
    Get it from your Omar man!”

  6. How interesting! As an Omaha native (and currently residing there) I had only heard of the Omar Bakery, but had no idea they were based here! 17th & O is in the heart of south O. I don’t recognize the building, but will have to cruise down there to see if it still exists. I kind of doubt it’s still around. While I don’t recall any bakery co’s. that delivered here like this, we had 4-5 dairys that did. My folks had Greystone Dairy delivery to us about twice a week. “Hank” would show up at the kitchen door usually during breakfast, walk right in, give my 4 year old head a pat, and load our fridge with milk, butter, cheese, whatever Mom asked for. On his way back out, he stopped at our wooden box in the garage & picked up our empties. I still have that Greystone Dairy box; they were always dated on the inside–ours was marked “April 1955”! I repainted it back to its original white with maroon lettering. It’s now storage for old paperback books in my basement. My boyhood home is now mine, and I always smile when I see that box.

  7. I see that often a commercial vehicle gets a lot of comments and reflections on their experience with the product and / or vehicles from contributors. It might be fun to have a commercial vehicle day like you have the four fun Friday color photos. One day could be bakery trucks, next week it could be something else. Anyhow, always interesting photo’s and especially interesting when tied to a little information related to the photo. Thanks for a great site. I always enjoy it!

  8. One website i visited stated that the Chevrolet name only (without model designation) first appeared on the side of the hood midway in the 1952 model year and was used on the 1953 models. The same site also states that the grille, front bumpers and hubcaps on the 1952 & 1953 models were painted. The body maker could have changed the bumper and
    hubcaps and added the trim rings.

  9. Yes, the building survives at 17th and O St , Lincoln, NE. Relatively unchanged and recognizable. I just google earth-ed the location.

  10. An opportunity was missed when the management of Omar’s bakery failed to change the final “r” in their bakery’s name to an “n” and offer the antiquated fleet of rebranded trucks to Sultan Said bin Taimur of Oman. Said’s fleet of trucks converted to a small fleet of mechanized cavalry would have hastened the Sultan’s eventual victory over his rival in the oil squabbles which plagued his kingdom during his reign and most importantly added an illustrious footnote to the history of the regionally famous Omar bakery chain.

  11. In the late 30s and early 40s in Louisville, KY a regional baked goods purveyor, Donaldson Bakery, delivered to homes in the city using horse-drawn stand-up vans. The green-and-yellow vans and the horses were sleek and immaculate, and the liveried driver came to your door with a big basket of bread and delectable goodies for your choice. You could always tell he was coming by the clop-clop of rubber-shod hooves. “Here comes the Donaldson man!” In outlying areas deliveries were made in panel delivery trucks.

    • Clyde,
      Across the road from my house there a couple of chaps who have restored a horse-drawn bread van – a couple of days ago they went around the town with it hitched up to a horse.

  12. Great posts and thanks for sharing. Back in the 40’s in Monroe, WI. we had a Jewel Tea man/truck. Very nice gentleman who was so polite with his basket of retail goods. Mother would by what she needed and it was there at the table that I saw my first ever $100 bill shown to me by that very same Jewel Tea man. Always wondered why he had such a large bill as goods were fairly cheap and folks had single dollars mostly. Recall Mom bought a Electrolux vacuum cleaner in addition to a complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica’s and when my Dad got home from work he was not a happy camper.

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