Many maple product companies focus solely on syrup, but not Sweet Tree Holdings. “We have no intention of selling [just] syrup on the marketplace,” CFO Michael Argyelan says.

Based in Island Pond, Vt., Sweet Tree Holdings plans to develop a broad maple product line, ranging from syrups to beverages. The company, which is part of the portfolio of Wood Creek Capital Management LLC, has a history going back to 2013.

That year, Wood Creek’s managing director, Bob Saul, purchased the startup’s first property. “The idea was to establish a maple producing company that could compete in the world marketplace against other world conglomerates,” Argyelan recalls, noting that the company purchased another 3,500 acres and a former Ethan Allen plant in Island Pond.

Consumers who buy Sunnyside Farms brand milk and dairy products can rest assured that these goods are of the highest possible quality. “The milk orders we receive are processed and on the store shelves within 24 hours. We don’t maintain inventories,” says Carl Graziani, president and general manager of Super Store Industries (SSI), the brand’s manufacturer and owner. “We get milk out to our partners as fresh as can be.”

The Stockton, Calif.-based company produces milk and other bottled products including juices, yogurt drinks and water, as well as the cultured dairy products yogurt, sour cream and cottage cheese, and frozen products including ice cream. Fresh milk products and juice bottled products are produced in a facility in Fairfield, Calif.; while cultured and frozen products are manufactured in a plant in Turlock, Calif. 

With its unique perspective and approach to foodservice, Premier Food Services plans to expand its footprint by becoming the company of choice for venues throughout the western United States. “We do our homework to understand,” Managing Director Paul Tazar says. “We spend time talking to customers and meeting planners to understand their needs. That’s the key differential and is symbolized by our logo.”

Founded 30 years ago by George E. Karetas, Premier brought with it a history of success, a creative vision and currently serves 31 diverse facilities, including Del Mar Fairgrounds and Racetrack, the University of California, San Diego Faculty Club, nine convention centers including Moscone Convention Center, seven arenas and multiple business dining accounts.

Shearer’s Foods LLC is one of the largest producers of private-label snacks in the country, making everything from potato chips and pretzels to cookies and crackers. The American appetite for those products will likely never be sated, which is good news for the company and the driving force behind its recent $33 million expansion of its main production facility in Burlington, Iowa. 

The 76,000-square-foot expansion of the Shearer’s Foods plant is expected to be a boon not only to the company’s ability to produce private label snacks for customers across the country, but also for the local economy. Shearer’s Foods Plant Technical Manager John Rempe says the project will bring jobs to the community and already has had a positive impact on the local construction scene. 

When Procacci Brothers Chairman and CEO Joe Procacci was growing up in Camden, N.J., his father sent him out with a pushcart of bananas and he wouldn’t come home until it was all sold. At the age of 18 in 1946, Procacci and his brother Michael purchased a wholesale produce business in Allentown, Pa. A few years later, they shifted focus to Philadelphia and repacking, founding Procacci Brothers in their father’s cellar and eventually opened up a spot on the Dock Street Produce Market. 

“We just kept outgrowing our space and were eventually led to our current setup in South Philadelphia, where we have seven buildings for different services and segments of our company,” Procacci says.

Outlook Group has come a long way from its origins printing baseball and Trivial Pursuit cards during the early 1980s. “The company has definitely evolved and grown from there,” says Joel Schmidt, marketing development director. 

Outlook Group prides itself on flexibility, transitioning from printing sports collector and game cards to participating in the direct mail and customer loyalty arenas. “That industry changed with the rise of the Internet and smart phones,” Schmidt recalls.

Today, the Neenah, Wis.-based company is a leader in the packaging and printing solutions industry and works with clients in a wide variety of market segments, including food and beverage, retail hard goods, medical products and online retail distribution, Schmidt says.

Just Desserts CEO Michael Mendes believes that people crave flavor, not just calories, and his products have been crafted to deliver that in spades. “We’re believers that having a very satisfying dessert is going to allow people to be satiated with less total calories and quantity vs. a lower-quality product that isn’t as satiating and satisfying,” Mendes asserts. “The alternative in a lot of cases is that people aren’t satisfied and their total calorie consumption can be higher.”

Just Desserts’ full-size cakes, single-serve cakes, mini-bundts, cupcakes and bites are handcrafted from all-natural, organic or vegan products in its new 75,000-square-foot production facility in Fairfield, Calif. “We focus on an artisan product we make from scratch with very simple and premium ingredients that your grandmother would use,” Mendes emphasizes. “We use whole eggs, not dried egg whites; we use real butter in lieu of vegetable oil; we use high-quality Madagascar vanilla. We are sourcing a variety of flours that we are blending from scratch vs. a lot of our competitors, who will start with a premade mix they buy from someone else. We blend our own unique mixes. We hand-de   corate our cakes, and it’s an artisan process.”

The food industry is continuously evolving and John Soules Foods has proven it is up for the challenge by creating more value-added products and installing additional production lines to meet demand. 

“We are committed to quality, consistency and adaptability,” John Soules Jr. says. “We have not remained the same company at any point in our history and are constantly looking at what’s out there to make sure we stay current.” 

John Soules Sr. started the Tyler, Texas-based company in 1975 as a raw ground beef supplier that delivered directly to local restaurants. His sons, Mark and John, came to work for the company in 1987 and 1993, respectively. In the early 1990s, the company operated two small plants and brought in about $12 million in revenue until John Soules Foods’ world came crashing down.

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