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WEISS NOODLE CO.

WEISS NOODLE CO., a family-owned business which manufactured and marketed "Mrs. Weiss' Noodles" for over 70 years, was founded by Hungarian immigrants Gaspar and Bertha Weiss in 1923, who sold Bertha's homemade noodles to Cleveland's better restaurants. As sales increased, the company expanded operations several times before establishing a plant at 2101 Woodland Ave. in 1937. By the time Weiss Noodle arrived at Woodland Ave., the company made 23 different kinds of noodles. Gaspar and Bertha's son, Albert, joined the business in 1934, and he soon introduced dry specialty-noodle soup mixes and cellophane packaging to sell "Mrs. Weiss' Noodles" in grocery and specialty stores. The company patented its short, wide Ha-Lush-Ka noodles for casseroles, and dumpling-style Kluski egg noodles. To maintain homemade flavor and quality, the plant, which turned out 1,600 pounds of noodles hourly, used separate machines for mixing, kneading, cutting, and drying.

After Gaspar's death in 1943, Bertha and Albert remained partners in a steadily growing business. When the company's Woodland Ave. plant burned down in 1961, a new one, which employed 30 people, was built at 31313 Aurora Rd. in Solon. By 1968, Weiss Noodle was a $20 million-a-year specialty food business. That year the company merged with American Mushroom Corp. of Wilmington, DE, part of Iron Mountain Inc. a food-related conglomerate. James Price became the company's president after Albert's death in 1978, and Leo Ippolito, whose Ideal Macaroni Co. became part of the larger company, served as chairman of the board. In 1993, Weiss Noodle became a division of Hershey Pasta Group in Hershey, PA, and the following year the company's sales were between $1 and $4.9 million.