MANITOWOC (WKOW) -- Pine River Dairy may be well-known in the dairy industry for crafting butter and butter blends, but there's a little unknown detail about the small factory.
"We have 20 employees, and three of them are men. And they are the Stecker brothers that have been with us…some of them have been with us for 21-22 years!" said Laurie Olm, President, Pine River Dairy.
What that means is the fifth and sixth generation of business owners, and the majority of plant workers, are women.
"Very happy that my parents and grandparents kept the business going to hand it down to us girls," said Olm.
Although Olm ran into a few skeptics along the way, she's proud to have kept the family business running smoothly. "I maybe heard one comment thirty years ago, you know, 'where is my dad or my uncle? Like I can't run the business you know, and um, I proved him wrong! We've grown the business."
Part of that proof is the fact that the sixth generation is now stepping up to help keep the business going.
"I guess I grew up with a lot of really strong women in my family," said Samantha Hammel, Q.A. Manager, Pine River Dairy. "It's not a big shock to me, because I just grew up with that environment, but when you see other businesses, then it is kind of an eye-opener."
Perhaps these strong women will continue to show that while they are more than capable of running a successful business, their products are also noteworthy!
"We primarily make butter and butter blends." said Olm. "We make unsalted butters, we make European-style butters, we do flavored butters, of which our Cinnamon-Honey butter just won the best of class in the world cheese and butter contest!"
75% of Pine River Dairy’s butter is used as an ingredient in other food manufacture such as garlic bread, chicken Kiev, cookies, candy, and cheese spreads. In fact, three companies that Pine River Dairy sells their butter to also won awards at the World Championship Cheese Contest!