Winder Case Study

Winder Farms began operations as a dairy in 1880. The company is headquartered in West Valley City, Utah and employs a staff of approximately 260.

In August, 2004, Dolphin Capital purchased the assets of Winder Dairy. At the time, the company's CEO had recently passed away, revenues were stagnant, and the company lacked the capital it needed to maintain and grow its operations. The long-time family run business lacked the capital necessary to invest in modernization, maintenance, and infrastructure. The management team knew that the company needed to invest in its plant, fleet, information technology, marketing and employees if it was going to effectively serve its customer base. At the time, the company's product offering consisted of dairy and a few other items.

Dolphin capital worked with management to develop a new strategy based on the delivery of a broad range of farm-fresh products throughout the western United States. The newly renamed Winder Farms embarked on the following four-part strategy:

  • Improve the existing infrastructure to improve quality, reduce costs, and support growth
  • Grow the customer base within Utah
  • Increase revenue per customer through an expanded, farm-fresh product offering
  • Expand the existing footprint organically and through acquisitions
The partners of Dolphin Capital have been extremely involved in the day-to-day management. Eric Jacobsen and Mike Dutton assumed the roles of CEO and COO, respectively. Soon thereafter, Ken Jacquin was brought on as CFO.

Since the acquisition in 2004, the mangement team in partnership with Dolphin Capital has:

  • Drastically changed the product offering; initially cutting 120 unproductive products from an offering of over 180, then subsequently launching approximately 170 new products. The offering now includes fresh-squeezed juices, produce, meats, and pre-prepared meals. Milk has been reduced from over 90% to less than 50% of revenues, while the company's revenue per delivery has doubled.
  • Launched the Winder Farms brand in grocery stores and grown the wholesale business to the point where it is the number two branded milk business in the state of Utah.
  • Expanded the Utah customer base from approximately 14,500 customers to over 25,000 customers .
  • Launched a Las Vegas operation in early 2007 and built a business which is approximately 80% of the size of the original Utah home delivery business which Dolphin Capital purchased in 2004.
  • Grown revenues from approximately $15 million to $40 million today.
Significant amounts of capital have been invested into the Winder Farms model since the acquisition in 2004. The company has successfully transitioned from a milk home delivery company to a "farmers market on wheels." Growth is coming from the strength of the core home delivery business in Utah, the expansion into Las Vegas and the launch of the Winder Farms brand into grocery stores. From here, the company will continue to focus on improving its customer retention rate, increasing density in existing markets and expanding to new markets.