The WILLIAM EDWARDS CO., a pioneer manufacturer and wholesaler of food products in Cleveland, was considered one of the foremost food distributors and food processors in the country. It was founded in a 2-story building on Old River Rd. (then River St.) in 1853 as Treat and Edwards, wholesale groceries and liquors, by William Edwards (1831-98) and Marcus A. Treat. In just over 3 years Treat was bought out, and a succession of partners followed. The firm's name became William Edwards & Co. in 1886. The company was incorporated as the William Edwards Co. in 1906 with J. W. Root as president. Five years later the firm moved to a 513,000 sq. ft. plant at 1326-38 West 9th St. Here the company warehoused items and processed canned and dried foods. In 1927 the Edwards Co. acquired W.P. Southworth Co., an old Cleveland grocery. In 1931 CHARLES A. OTIS, JR., the son-in-law of William Edwards, became president of the firm. The following year the Edwards Co. sponsored a cooperative of grocers known as the Edwards Food Stores. The company's Edwards brand products were nationally known.
The William Edwards Co., the oldest company of its kind between New York and Chicago, was acquired by the WEIDEMAN CO. in 1947. Weideman's parent firm sold the Edwards Co. to Foodtown in 1952. Cook Coffee, through its Pick-N-Pay subsidiary, acquired Food Town in 1959. In 1978 Pick-N-Pay was acquired by First National (later Finast) Supermarkets; that firm discontinued Edwards brand products in the Greater Cleveland area.