Baking & Snack - April 2021 - 16

years
SOSLAND PUBLISHING

YOU'VE HEARD OF THE
100-YEAR RULE THAT
SAYS, 'WE HAVE ALWAYS
DONE IT THAT WAY.' WE
TRY TO GET AWAY FROM
THAT TYPE OF THINKING.

Josh Bickford, Clyde's Delicious Donuts

(From left) Kent, Bill,
Kim and Josh Bickford
- along with the late
Herman Seekamp
pictured in the truck -
represent four generations of family owners at
Clyde's Delicious Donuts.
Clyde's Delicious Donuts

family bakeries succeed and others do not, especially
when faced with one of those many watershed moments
in a company's history. For Clyde's, the latest turning
point came just a few years ago, when the donut producer pivoted from fresh to frozen distribution to serve the
shifts in the in-store bakery channel.
" That's allowed us to grow dramatically because we
reached new markets, " Kim Bickford said.
Pivoting is not a catchy phrase that suddenly became
popular for Neri's Bakery Products. Anthony M. Neri,
general manager for the Port Chester, NY-based bakery,
said it has been a key for survival for this family business
that was founded in 1910. He's a member of the fourth
generation involved in the family business with Brett
Neri-Ferraro, head of human resources; Anthony Frank
Neri, plant manager, and Salvatore Neri Jr., manager of
the sweet goods department.
" You always have to keep evolving and keep up with
the industry, " Anthony Neri observed. " With everything that's going on, we shifted to a lot of individually
wrapped items, which weren't as big in demand five
years ago as they are today. "
One of the company's pivotal moments came in the
early 2000s, when his father Dominick, now president,
and uncle Paul Neri, vice president, shifted the business
to contract manufacturing for major food companies
from fresh independent deliveries to delis, diners and
pizza joints at night.
" We never stopped providing those normal route jobbers at night, " Anthony Neri recalled. " We diversified.
We no longer had all of our eggs in one basket. "
That decision paid off in a huge way during last year's
pandemic-driven shifts in the market.
" There are a lot of smaller family-owned players that

16 Baking & Snack April 2021 / www.bakingbusiness.com

might not be around now, " he said. " If you are solely surviving on those pizza places and diners, you may be in
trouble today. "
For Flowers Foods, which celebrated its centennial in
2019, the transformational moment came in 1968 when
the family's second-generation owners took then-called
Flowers Baking Co. public.
" It gave Flowers a way to finance growth and acquisitions as well as make capital investments needed to
stay competitive, " said Brad Alexander, chief operating officer of the Thomasville, Ga.-based company.
" Looking back, going public was the one action Bill and
Langdon Flowers took that all but ensured the company
would survive the coming consolidation in the baking industry. "
As a publicly held company, Mr. Alexander added,
Flowers became answerable to its shareholders, resulting in a renewed emphasis on accountability and professionalism. It began to actively mentor and promote
younger employees into management positions and hire
people with a business education and experience.
" Talking to people who worked for Flowers at that
time, you will hear that the 'Flowers family' culture
created by Bill and Langdon did not change when the
company went public, " Mr. Alexander said. " Fortunately,
they were able to keep that strong sense of teamwork,
commitment to hard work and the values of integrity
and respect. Employees were offered the opportunity to
purchase stock and many of them did. "
During the flurry of industry consolidations through
the next few decades, Flowers made more than 60 acquisitions. Several factors came into play during this period.
" One is that many family-owned bakeries did not
have the capital to modernize their operations, improve


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Baking & Snack - April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Baking & Snack - April 2021

Baking & Snack - April 2021 - 1
Baking & Snack - April 2021 - 1
Baking & Snack - April 2021 - 2
Baking & Snack - April 2021 - 3
Baking & Snack - April 2021 - 4
Baking & Snack - April 2021 - 5
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Baking & Snack - April 2021 - 7
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