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November 17, 2010
By definition, trailblazers don’t follow predictable paths. That’s true of Straus Family Creamery, a pioneer in organic farming and sustainable business practices.
The Strauses have been running a sustainable dairy since 1941, when patriarch Bill Straus began farming on Tomales Bay. In 1994, Straus became the first certified organic dairy on the West Coast. Bill’s son Albert, fueled by a love of ice cream and the desire to create a secure market for his milk, then established the creamery, which today produces organic milk, yogurt, ice cream and European-style butter.
Straus’s unique position as both dairy and creamery, as well as its popularity among gourmands, led to swift growth. By 2007, the company needed new banking solutions to help it keep pace with changing needs and the challenging dairy industry.
New Resource takes partnership approach
Straus’s existing bank offered only conventional approaches that weren’t getting Straus where it wanted to be. Just as important, it wasn’t aligned with the company’s core values.
The company signed on with New Resource, which worked closely with the principals to help Straus grow while holding onto those values.
“The company needed to keep its practices aligned with its mission and have growth, but sustainable growth,” says CFO Deborah Parrish, who joined Straus in 2008. “New Resource helps with this alignment. [New Resource Vice President] Matt Scullin established a dialog. He listened to us, and in the end helped us with what we needed to do. Matt and New Resource are true business partners.”
Partnership helps put Straus on path to sustainable growth
Parrish says she’s often asked how Straus has continued to grow during a period when other dairy companies have struggled—Straus is in the process of expanding with a new location in Petaluma.
“New Resource helped us manage our growth,” says Parrish. “We absolutely would not be doing this without New Resource Bank.”