|Helms Bakery Sign - Culver City 2014|
. . . in Culver City. The building is now occupied by various "design"-type stores: not a bakery now, alas.
Despite never being sold in stores, Helms baked products soon became known to millions of consumers. The Helms motto was "Daily at Your Door" and every weekday morning, from both the Culver City facility and a second Helms Bakery site in Montebello, dozens of Helms trucks, painted in a unique two-tone scheme, would leave the bakery for various parts of the Los Angeles Basin . . .
Each truck would travel through its assigned neighborhoods, with the driver periodically pulling (twice) on a large handle which sounded a distinctive whistle or stop at a house where a Helms sign, a blue placard with an "H" on it, was displayed in their windows. Customers would come out and wave the truck down, or sometimes chase the trucks to adjacent streets. Wooden drawers in the back of the truck were stocked with fresh donuts, cookies, pastries and candies, while the center section of the truck carried dozens of loaves of freshly baked bread.
However popular, the Helms method of neighborhood delivery was doomed both by the expense of sending trucks hundreds of miles each week and by the advent of the supermarket, which stocked products from other (less expensive) bakeries, which delivered once or twice each week. The Helms company ceased operations in 1969.
The part about the trucks is accurate. I know, because I used to run out to the Helms truck for donuts. They were good!