In 1890 a Star was Born...
That was the year David Katzenstein, a young immigrant chemist from Germany, founded Star Extract Works at the cobblestone triangle of West Broadway, Greenwich Street and Fulton Street in downtown New York City. David and his brother Sam worked their corner shop developing and selling a wide array of flavors and extracts, such as vanilla, chocolate, peppermint, cinnamon, rose, strawberry, and rum. These flavors were used by local bakers, brewers, distillers, tobacconists, beverage and ice cream makers throughout New York, New England, and Pennsylvania.
Just prior to World War I, David entered into the confectionary business, with a special orientation towards servicing ice cream businesses. He partnered with Warren White of the White-Stokes Company of Chicago, to create Kay-White Products, with a factory in Newark, New Jersey. Now, two of David's companies were in the food business, making flavor extracts and confections (butterscotch, marshmallow, chocolate, toffee, butter pecan) for ice cream.
During World War I, with strong business growth and his oldest son Carl drafted into the army, David needed his youngest son, Miles, to join him in the operation. Miles, who was ineligible for military service, was studying chemistry at Columbia University, but dropped out at his father's request. With an exceptionally high aptitude for the sciences, Miles became an inventor of many of Star Extract Works' and Kay-White Products' standard flavors and processing designs; designs which far outlasted his own life, and became popular throughout the ice cream industry. By 1928 David had built a modern facility to combine all operations in the Bronx, only a few blocks away from the new Yankee Stadium. It was at that juncture when the company formally became known as Star Kay White.
The Stock Market Crash of 1929, and subsequent Great Depression, did great financial damage to the company, forcing losses of personnel and property. During this difficult time one simple pleasure people could afford was ice cream. This trickle of a business kept Star Kay White afloat through The Depression, and would become its biggest operation in the years to follow. It was at this time that Miles developed a wide array of signature flavors and inclusions such as Marshmallow Crinkle, Chocolate Crinkle, Rum Raisin, and Peppermint Stick. These items are still among our all-time top-sellers.
With the onset of World War II, American business once again began to prosper. Star Kay White supplied flavors that went into ice cream going to GIs around the world. Ice cream was a big morale booster for those trying times. Carl's sons, Allen and Richard, returning GIs, joined Star Kay White after the war, and the business began to evolve to meet the great changes in the industry. Supermarkets and food conglomerates took the place of mom and pop ice cream, beverage, and baking operations. Walter Katzenstein, Miles' son, and our current President, joined in 1950, during the 60th year of business.
By the time the fourth generation of Katzensteins, Richard and Walter's sons, David, Jim and Ben joined the business full-time, the plant in the Bronx had been cranking out ice cream flavors for Breyers, Sealtest, Bordens, Hershey, Howard Johnsons, Friendlys, Haagen Dazs, Turkey Hill, Perrys, Ben & Jerrys, and many others, for over fifty years. By the 1980s the factory in the Bronx was worn, and it was time to move to a new custom-built facility in Congers, New York.For 25 years our Congers location has produced hundreds of millions of pounds of exceptional product for the food industry. We have grown substantially, having purchased several nearby buildings and creating a company campus in order to support the growing demand for our products. We have been innovators and industry leaders in the fields of variegate, candy, extract, and processing design. Our absolute dedication to quality, customer service, and our can-do attitude, are the basis for our excellent products and reputation.
Today a fifth generation has joined the ranks of Star Kay White's Katzenstein family heritage. Alex and Gabe are both full-time employees who have learned the ways of the business, as their predecessors have, from the bottom, up. All family members; Walter, Jim, Ben, Alex and Gabe can be found on any given day working amongst our fabulous employees, on the floor of the facility, and leading our company into another decade.
Well into our second century of excellence, Star Kay White remains committed to our root values; loyal service to our customers, a cherished and grateful bond with our employees, our family, and pride in our name and legacy which is reflected by our commitment to excellence every day of the year. We are grateful and proud to have the privilege to live and work in America, and the Empire State, supplying flavors to many of the greatest food companies in the world
- David Katzenstein founds Star Extract Works at 8 North Broadway in lower Manhattan
- Kay White Products is founded in Newark, NJ by David Katzenstein and Warren White catering to the tri-state dairy industry with textural ingredients
- Star Kay White builds a state of the art dairy facility and complex in the Bronx
- The Wall Street Crash ushers in the Great Depression
- David Katzenstein is forced to sell off his state of the art facility, retaining a production space of 10,000 square feet. During this time he was lucky to sell a gallon of vanilla extract a day. At this juncture employees begin answering the phones of the company they begin to call "Star Kay White"
- Star Kay White is stabilized with 10 employees
- Walter Katzenstein begins working at Star Kay White
- Star Kay White moves from the Bronx to Congers NY, expanding floor space from from 15,000 s.f. to 30,000 s.f. Ben Katzenstein graduates the Culinary Institute of America and joins Star Kay White as a full time employee
- First expansion of 13,000 s.f. in Congers brings Star Kay White 43,000 s.f. of manufacturing space
- Ben, Jim and Walter buy out majority holder, cousin David Katzenstein
- Star Kay White has 22 full time employees
- Star Kay White purchases and renovates a 10,000 s.f. facility for R&D kitchen, cold storage and dry warehousing
- Star Kay White purchases an additional 35,000 s.f. facility with additional office space, dry ingredient storage.
- Alex Katzenstein starts full time employment at Star Kay White
- Star Kay White moves extract bottling facility to a 10,000 square foot space
- Star Kay White achieves SQF 2000 Level II certification with highest grade of "Excellent."
- Star Kay White installs sugar silos and automated sugar delivery system to kettles
- Star Kay White produces over 30,000,000 lbs of ingredients for the world's most esteemed and recognized brands around the world
- Ben Katzenstein purchases majority stock of Star Kay White
- Star Kay White establishes a Trends Team Observation panel guided by our executive chef, Catherine Felix, syncing our Feature Flavors program with our market analyses findings.
- Star Kay White establishes a formal Board of Directors
- Star Kay White employs and continues to add upon 126 full time workers, as well as additional part time employees and internships in fields of science
- Production efficiencies are improved with 50% larger kettles for syrups and staggered production schedules, increasing daily production capabilities to over 180,000 lbs per day.
- Star Kay White establishes an Ethical Sourcing and Procurement Committee