Case Studies Region: West

Chad Yakobson – Crooked Stave

Est. reading time: 4 mins

When Chad Yakobson founded Crooked Stave, he wasn’t just trying to make good beer. He was trying to prove something. While most brewers had spent decades removing Brettanomyces in beer, he’d spent years studying how to use the yeast species. As laid out in his master’s thesis, he concluded that when left in, Brettanomyces creates […]

Stephen Smith – Turlock Fruit

Est. reading time: 4 mins

Picking from the produce section of a grocery store is often a gamble, especially if fruit is concealed by peels or rinds. As the co-owner of Turlock Fruit, Stephen Smith hates it when someone buys a melon only to cut it open and find pale, unripe flesh, which is common with cantaloupe and honeydew melon. […]

Tyler Klick – Redwood Empire Vineyard Management

Est. reading time: 4 mins

When gophers munch on grapevine roots and trunks at the California properties entrusted to Redwood Empire Vineyard Management, co-owner and viticulturist Tyler Klick doesn’t resort to poisons that pose a secondary threat to predators. Instead, he sets up nesting boxes for barn owls. One of those predators might sink its talons into a couple thousand […]

Leslie Surber – Latitude 36 Foods

Est. reading time: 4 mins

Finally, it’s lunchtime and you’ve decided to go a healthier route today. However, when you open your bag of mixed greens, it doesn’t have croutons, cheese or dressing to liven it up. Here was a gap in the condiment supply chain, Leslie Surber thought—and it needed to be fixed. That’s among the reasons she started […]

Darden Coors – MAD Greens

Est. reading time: 4 mins

Going out to eat with children can be challenging, especially if they’re picky eaters. Darden Coors had been seeing this at MAD Greens, the fast casual restaurant chain where she’s CEO, and wanted to offer more than salads. Now, with macaroni and cheese on the menu, she’s hoping the restaurant will appeal to a wider […]

Luis Castaneda – Café Vida

Est. reading time: 4 mins

Growing up, Luis Castaneda remembers his family hosting large gatherings where his mom would cook for 80 to 100 guests. He’d be in the kitchen as she moved between the stove, the counter, the sink and the fridge, mesmerized by how his mother managed to do so much at once. Later, he’d join the guests […]

Richard Wardwell – Superior Grocers

Est. reading time: 4 mins

On March 19, 2020, Superior Grocers President Richard Wardwell was driving across town to visit a store in Santa Ana, California when he heard the news that Gov. Gavin Newsom was issuing a stay-at-home order due to rising cases of COVID-19. With the mandate going into effect within 72 hours, there was plenty to do […]

Jim Floyd – Hammer & Wikan

Est. reading time: 4 mins

Jim Floyd isn’t descended from the Norwegian founders of Hammer & Wikan, the unique grocer and commercial retailer in tiny Petersburg, Alaska. Nevertheless, today’s owners seemed to recognize at least a spiritual connection when hiring Floyd as general manager and chief executive officer in November 2019. “When they said, ‘welcome to the family’ it sounded […]

Nancy Coupal – Coupa Café

Est. reading time: 4 mins

Under other circumstances, Nancy Coupal might still be in Venezuela. Though born in Berkeley, California, the South American country was her home for 30 years, she having moved there during the late 1970s with her husband, Jean Paul Coupal, after they graduated UCLA, she with a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in public health. […]

Maral Barsoumian – Amoretti

Est. reading time: 5 mins

When Jack and Maral Barsoumian walk through a grocery store, they’re always delighted to see their products on the shelves. Regardless of what aisle they’re in—condiments and sauces, baking, beverages—they’re bound to see something they made. As the creators of extracts   , concentrates, purees, syrups, fruit pastes, compounds and more, the family team sell their […]

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