Jean-Romain Lefèvre opened a small confectionery at 5 rue Boileau in Nantes in 1846. The success of his biscuits made the small business famous. Marriage to the enterprising Pauline-Isabelle Utile led to the renaming to Pâtisserie Lefèvre Utile . In 1854, the business was expanded for the first time and the sales outlet was designed in a luxurious architectural style, and special attention was paid to hygiene when selling.

In 1882 Louis Lefèvre-Utile (1858-1940), the son of the company founder who died young, took over management of the company and developed it into a large-scale mechanized operation. In 1885 he built a biscuit factory with a steam engine on the Quai Baco. There 130 workers could be employed on 2000 square meters. Soon, the Petit-Beurre butter biscuit, created in 1886 , accounted for two-thirds of production. The entrepreneur oriented himself to British role models such as T. & T. Vicars. A major fire on May 4, 1888 did not affect the company’s rise.

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