Values that continue to inspire

To our dear Amy’s Family,

When Rachel and I started Amy’s 35 years ago, we did not know much about business or management. We were young parents, idealistic, and yes, maybe a bit naive. We just kept it simple; each day, we would focus on cooking delicious meals and treating people respectfully. Each meal we made would taste great – a meal we’d be delighted to serve our friends. Every person who worked with us was important and valued – just like a member of our own family. We had many hard times to get through, but we kept the business moving forward by focusing on care for our people and making delicious food.  

We also knew the only way to succeed was by constantly learning and staying curious. We always listened to and learned from our farmers, employees, customers, and even our competitors. And using this learning and our values, we would try to make the best decisions we can. For example, when we learned of higher childhood cancer rates in farming communities, we researched the health impacts of pesticides and immediately committed to using organic agriculture before there was a market or standard. Most people said this was a costly mistake, but it worked out just fine in the long run.

 I remember the day we learned from our plant manager that many of our employees were not accessing primary care, and chronic conditions were developing. We started asking why and found out that cultural and language barriers often got in the way. After consulting with experts, we built an onsite bilingual healthcare clinic at each location that gave each employee and their families high-quality healthcare – at no cost. Today we see a healthier workforce, happier families, and a better standard of medical care than any food company I have come across.

Cooking our food takes physical work – there isn’t any other way. For many years, I would get to the plant at 3 am and work in our kitchen to help make sauce and fillings. There isn’t a job in our company that I haven’t personally done at some point. I know from first-hand experience that with physical work comes the risk of injury. We learn every day how to do better. And we aren’t perfect. No food company is. And it saddens me more than anything when there is an accident at work. We have invested millions in safety – both in equipment and practices – and we have a plan to invest another $50 million in safety-related projects over the next five years. I am proud that our safety rate in Santa Rosa is twice as good as our industry standard. But even one accident is one too many, and we will never stop working on improvements.

The last two years were unlike any other. COVID was the most challenging crisis we have ever faced as business owners. We felt the pressure of continuing to make food for millions of people who relied on our food and, at the same time, the overwhelming need to keep our people safe. When we first learned of the pandemic, well before local mandates went into force, we were able to secure thousands of masks for our employees and local healthcare workers. We sent people home with preexisting conditions or at an older age home on full pay while we learned more about the health risks and appropriate mitigation measures. And in Santa Rosa, we were able to run our own vaccine clinic where over 98% of our workforce was vaccinated. We know that through our efforts, many lives were saved. And I am forever grateful to the collective bravery of our team. They made the food that fed our country.

I am often asked why do you keep working? Why keep Amy’s as a family business when it would be so easy to sell it and retire? The truth is that the happiness of people at Amy’s keeps me going. I love walking in our plants and learning about great ideas directly from our people. There have been countless moments of joy and tragedy we have been through together. We know we aren’t perfect, but we know that we can accomplish so much together.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about who we are.

Sincerely,

 

Andy