Keeping it close to home

Posted on Dec 27, 2018 :: Editor , Editor’s Insights
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

The next time you purchase canned or frozen vegetables, you may want to take a closer look — the carrots, beans, peas or other veggies inside may have been grown, processed and packaged by Lakeside Foods. Founded in 1887, Lakeside is a leading provider to retailers and foodservice vendors across the country.

The key to the family-owned company’s success is its roots … literally. Lakeside contracts with farmers around its 13 facilities to grow certain crops, with the Manitowoc company providing the seed and harvesting the crop when it’s ready. That proximity means the vegetables are processed at their peak of freshness, locking in vital nutrients. For example, the carrots from the field in Mishicot where we photographed Lakeside President and CEO Glen Tellock for this month’s cover were taken to the Manitowoc plant, where within a couple of hours they were either canned or frozen.

Lakeside is in growth mode, purchasing two other companies in 2018 and in the process of building a $40 million expansion of its packaging facility. The move will allow the company to control more of the packaging process, part of which is now outsourced. As Tellock told me, that control not only improves efficiency, but also reduces the risk of contaminants entering the manufacturing process. As any food manufacturer can tell you, food safety is a top concern and challenge. You can read my story on Lakeside Foods starting on page 18.

Small, one-of-a-kind shops are at the heart of many downtowns throughout the region. If you take a closer look, you’ll notice that many are owned by women. In downtown De Pere alone, there are more than 70 women-owned businesses. In this month’s Insight Insider, reporter Jessica Thiel explores what’s driving these entrepreneurs and the impact they are having on local downtowns. That story begins on page 26.

Since it is a new year, it is time to try something new. At Insight, that means a commentary written by Jessica or me on a regional issue tied to business, economic development, workforce needs or other topics of interest to business owners and leaders that will run in each issue. This month’s commentary is on page 45. Also for 2019, we pledge to bring you more news between issues. You’ll be able to find that on the Latest News page on our website or through our social media channels.