A major disaster like a fire can be enough to close many businesses down for good. For Snavely’s Mill Inc., a fire that destroyed its operations in 1985 was anything but the end for the company.

People often try to explain how long they’ve done a particular job by saying, “I grew up in this business.” Sometimes, this statement is a bit of a stretch, but for Joe Shelton and his nephew Mike Shelton, it is definitely true of their time at Shelton Farms. “We worked in the dirt at our farm as kids,” Mike Shelton explains. “We grew up in this business and learned about every aspect of it. This is the oldest food business in our local market, and we have poured our hearts into it.”

Despite many industry competitors serving up frozen treats that aren’t made of real ice cream, Wisconsin-based Schoep’s Ice Cream stays true to its name and the Dairy State. “We’re purists – we actually make real ice cream,” President and CEO Tim Timm says. “If you look at the store, most people aren’t making real ice cream because it’s expensive to do that. They’re making low-fat ice creams and frozen dairy desserts.”

Like everything in nature, endless variety can be produced from simple beginnings. Starting with a chicken egg, Rose Acre Farms creates multiple variations to meet the specific demands of its different customers.

As Reading Bakery Systems has served the food industry, it has found success by staying diversified, Executive Director of Sales Shawn Moye says. “[We are] not tied to one product category, [which] allows us to be extremely flexible in our offering,” he says. “If one type of business may be down, the other may be up.”

For many years, efficiency was the name of the game in the food industry. As the post-World War II population exploded and technology made it possible, the industry’s focus was on feeding a growing nation as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

Although a noodle starts with simple ingredients, there is infinite variety in the ways its ingredients can be combined and prepared. Every two weeks, Nongshim America ships the noodles it manufactures in its 5-year-old facility in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., to its parent company in Korea for a professional taste test.

As a young man doing research on oyster seeds, David Nisbet fell in love with Willapa Bay in southwest Washington. The romance began to blossom in the 1970s with the founding of Nisbet Oyster Co. Inc. and the purchasing of 10 acres of tideland.

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