Family Focus: The Mennel Milling Company

Family Focus:

The Mennel Milling Company

AFamily Focus: The Mennel Milling Company   n interview with the current president of Mennel Milling, Donald L. Mennel and his father the Retired Board Chairman addressing small family business issues such as, succession, competition and family roles.

Since its establishment by bankers in 1886 and through its development, The Mennel Milling Company has overcome typical family business challenges. Succession, competition, and family roles have all played a part in the company’s growth and success.Problems between banking families provided the opportunity for the Mennel family to gain control.Also typical in family businesses, the first job in the company for Donald M. Mennel (D.M.), retired Board Chairman, was emptying coal cars.As his education progressed, he was able to carry feed bags and use the broom in the mill,Due to other family business issues, D.M.’s reign as head of the company really began in 1958.

The Mennel Milling Company is currently the tenth largest flour milling company in the country with nearly $100 million in sales.There are four mills within the operation, located in Fostoria, Ohio; Dowagiac, Michigan; Roanoke, Virginia; and Mt. Olive, Illinois.The business and the Mennel family continue to tackle typical family business challenges. Donald L. Mennel (D.L.), the eldest of Don’s three sons, took over as president of the company when his father retired at age 65 to enter law school–graduating three years later from Ohio Northern University.Another son, John W. Mennel, Executive Vice President, is in the sales end of the business. More…

A Hard Look at Surviving Multiple Generations

A Hard Look at Surviving

Multiple Generations

an interview with Doug Renfro of Renfro Foods

In 1940, with the Depression still a vivid memory, George Renfro took a big risk for a man with a family. He quit his job selling restaurant supplies and condiments. With little more than sheer determination and the support of his family, George and his wife, Arthurine, co-founded George Renfro Food Company in the garage of their north Fort Worth home.

With annualized growth of 10% for more than half a century Mrs. Renfro’s salsa now ranks as one of the nation’s top five best selling salsas distributed by specialty food distributors.  They manufacture and distribute more than 100 products, including 25 Mrs. Renfro’s products to all 50 states, western and eastern Canada, the Caribbean and United Kingdom.  This third generation business is one of the nation’s five largest family-owned and managed salsa manufacturers and the nation’s largest producer of chow chow, a Southern relish made of garden vegetables, vinegar and spices. Today, the second generation, Bill and Jack, along with grandchildren Doug, Becky and James who are active in the day-to-day operations at Renfro Foods, and its Mrs. Renfro’s label, continue to grow at a fast pace. More…