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Tulsa's Bama Companies Celebrates 80 Years By Expanding Locally, Globally

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

A Tulsa company is celebrating a major milestone Monday, July 24th.  Bama Companies is marking 80 years of sweet success with a ribbon cutting at a new plant that will provide food for McDonald's restaurants around the world.

News On 6 sat down with Bama Companies CEO Paula Marshall to talk about how a focus on family has blossomed into a global enterprise.

Inside a new plant in north Tulsa is a rather astonishing sight, row after row after row of hotcakes. A million of them produced every day, served at McDonald's restaurants across the globe.  

Bama Pie had the most humble of beginnings.  It started with Paula Marshall's Grandmother Bama baking pies.  But the company exploded when Paula Marshall's father Paul came up with the ingenious idea of a hand-held pie, which was soon scooped up by McDonalds.  Paula took over the reins in 1984 and set out to conquer the world.

"We started putting footprints down in China.  We built additional plants here in Tulsa in 1995 and then we built a new facility in Poland," said Paula Marshall.

Today, Bama has 2,000 employees, 900 of them in Tulsa.  They produce more pies and biscuits in a single day, 5-million, than Grandma Bama could have made in a lifetime. 

"I love growing, I love building new products, I love building plants and providing jobs," said Paula Marshall.

But the Marshall family is equally proud of what they've brought to the community and their employees who have built the empire alongside them.

"We have so many people here.  That have put their kids through college.  They have put themselves through school.  They've gone back to school and are going back doing 2nd and 3rd careers here at Bama," said Paula Marshall.

With the new hotcake facility, a fourth generation of Marshalls is stepping in.  Like his mom, Jacob Chapman is learning the business from the ground up.  He's the operations coordinator at Bama Companies.  

Along with the product line, manufacturing and customer service, Jacob Chapman says he's learning about respect and gratitude.

"I take a lot of pride in what we do and a lot of caring and accountability for what we do, and I try to live the mission every day," said Jacob Chapman.

Bama Companies cut the ribbon on its new hotcake plant Monday and they will also have several other events to celebrate their 80 years in business. 

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