François Régis (F. R.) Lepage was one of several entrepreneurs who got their start on the staff of the Dupont Bakery in New Auburn. He purchased his own bakery across the river in Lewiston with a loan from Mr. Dupont in 1903. At the same time, the Franco-American population in the Twin Cities grew, with families moving into the neighborhoods around Kennedy Park and “French Hill,” in the Dominican parish of St. Peter and Paul. The Lepage family continued to live in New Auburn and eventually had their business offices there. F. R. 's grandson, Albert Lepage, remembers growing up speaking French in the Franco-American environment of St. Louis parish. He describes his final years of high school at Hebron Academy as a culture shock.
After F. R. 's retirement, and while Regis Lepage was away at school studying for his M.B.A., his older sisters took over the family business. Marguerite was general manager, Dolores, production manager, and Germaine office manager and treasurer. After Marguerite and Dolores married, their husbands were integrated into the family business.
The Lepage family has a strong tradition of philanthropy in the Lewiston-Auburn Franco-American community, exemplified by their contributions to St. Mary’s Hospital.
2013.0.23: Dupont Bakery, 49 Second St., Auburn, 1900
Left to right: Joseph Dupont, Armand Dufresne, Joseph Raymond, Joseph Nadeau, F.R. Lepage, Philippe Dupont (owner), Emmanuel Janelle, William Mailhot, David Champoux, and Eva Benoit (Poirier).
Philippe Dupont founded Dupont Bakery in 1893. Many of his employees went on to open their own businesses in the food industry after leaving his employ. F.R. Lepage opened his own bakery in 1903, with a loan from Philippe Dupont. William Mailhot went on to found a sausage company that is still operated by his family today.
2018.28.3: F.R. Lepage Portrait, Tooley-Myron Studios, date unknown
François Régis (F.R.) Lepage (1873-1949) came to the U.S. from Quebec as a teenager, working at a bakery in Cape Cod before becoming a foreman at Dupont Bakery in Auburn. In 1903, he started his own bakery and had a partnership with William Mailhot, a fellow Dupont Bakery alum, before Mailhot created his sausage business.
2018.28.1: Lepage Family, 1939
Back row: Adrianne, Grace, Marguerite, Georgette, Regis A., Juliette, Marie, Dolores
Front row: Bertha, Vitaline, F.R., Germaine
Regis A. Lepage was the only son of F.R. and Vitaline Lepage to live to adulthood; he had nine sisters, all pictured. When Regis was in graduate school finishing his MBA, his father went into semi-retirement and three of his sisters, Marguerite, Dolores, and Germaine, ran the company. Marguerite was general manager, Dolores, production manager, and Germaine office manager and treasurer. After Marguerite and Dolores married, their husbands were integrated into the family business.
2018.28.15.2: Lepage children outside home, date unknown
Back row: Juliette, Adrianne, Bertha
Middle row: Germaine, Gracieusa, Marguerite, Dolores
Front row: Regis A., Albert, Georgette
2019.12.5: Photo of Mary Carroll Street, photographed by Doris Bonneau, 2019
The Lepage family settled in New Auburn, where F. R. worked at the Dupont Bakery. Even when Regis A. Lepage moved his young family from their multi-unit family home near his parents to Mary Carroll Street, his family stayed in New Auburn. Albert Lepage, son of Regis A. Lepage, grew up in New Auburn, which he describes as “a Franco environment.” Living and working within their parish and community were important to the Lepages and other Franco-American entrepreneurs.
2019.12.6: Lepage Bakery 35th anniversary (1903-1938) advertisement, Lewiston Sun and Lewiston Journal, March 16, 1938
This newspaper clipping highlights the work of long-time Lepage Bakery employees Pierre Samson and Eugene Coulombe.
2019.12.15: Bakers with F.R. Lepage, undated
F.R. Lepage, far right, poses with workers at the bakery. Lepage Bakeries focused on employing people from the Lewiston-Auburn community, and providing them with opportunities and a job they enjoyed.
2019.12.11: New Auburn bakery offices, 1958
2019.12.14: “Our Fleet 1903,” Country Kitchen Bakeries, 1969
Image depicting the sleigh used to deliver bread in the winter of 1903.
2019.12.2: 70 Years of Quality: The F.R. Lepage Bakery Inc. Story, Regis A. Lepage,1973
Publication of an address given by Regis A. Lepage on June 22, 1973 at the 1973 Maine Luncheon of the Newcomen Society in North America in Portland, ME. In the address Regis discussed the history of the company and his family, as well as his plans for the future of Lepage Bakeries.
2019.12.7: Do-Maker Success Story, undated
This magazine was created by the Do-Maker company and features F.R. Lepage Bakery, a buyer of the Do-Maker machine. The Do-Maker was the first fully automatic dough mixing machine in the country. Using new and innovative technology was important to the Lepages.
2019.12.12: Lepage bakery on Locust Street in Lewiston, c. 1976.
2019.12.13: Country Kitchen building concept art, Brattleboro, VT location
2019.12.20: Country Kitchen Truck, Henry Doyon
Model Country Kitchen delivery truck, complete with driver, bread, and working lights. Designed and built by Henry Doyon.
2019.12.1: 100 year anniversary (1903-2003), commemorative tote bag
2019.12.18: F.R. Lepage plaque at St. Mary’s Hospital, photographed by Doris Bonneau, 2019
Giving back to the community was important to the Lepage family and they felt they could best do so by donating to St. Mary’s Hospital to help community members in need.
2019.12.17: Country Kitchen Today, photographed by Doris Bonneau, 2019
The “Work Here” banner on the Country Kitchen Bakery building in downtown Lewiston demonstrates that the importance of hiring local workers has not faded with time.