In 1889 at the age of 25 Willoughby, like many great entrepreneurs, started his business in his home. He sold his products, including root beer, flavoring extracts, fruit syrups and juices, door-to-door. In 1903, Willoughby and his brother Roberdeau incorporated the company.
Most of the company’s assets and records were destroyed in the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904. A new five-story building was erected on the same site within 10 months.