In 1988, when Amy Cramer was a senior in high school looking for a part-time job she landed an order entry position at Dairy Delivery. Little did she know, she would work for the
company full-time and eventually own it.
Dairy Delivery has been delivering local natural foods and dairy products in the greater California Northern Bay Area since 1978. Some of their brands include Clover Sonoma, Redwood Hill Farm, Straus Family Creamery, Three Twins Ice Cream and Wallaby Organic. The company purchases already packaged products from various manufacturers and resells them to retailers. Dairy Delivery currently has 16 trucks that depart Minnesota Road in Penngrove six days a week starting anywhere from 1:00 am to 5:00 pm and travel to destinations from El Dorado to Healdsburg, and everywhere in between.
“We cater to big stores (like Whole Foods) as well as small stores,” Cramer said. “For us, the small stores are just as important as the retail powerhouses.”
She said that although Dairy Delivery is a medium sized company and there are many larger companies that can beat them out on price and can delivery every single day, Dairy Delivery’s good customer service and reputation it is what is most important.
“Our biggest niche is that we provide really good customer service because we are super conscience about dates, which is important because all the products we carry are perishable,” Cramer said.
Dairy Delivery’s mission is to uphold the best of quality standards in both delivery, warehousing and customer satisfaction. Cramer said that her top priorities are to have good quality products,
good customers and retails outlets, and to take care of Dairy Delivery’s employees.
“Our employees are the backbone of this company,” Cramer said. “If I don’t have good people, whether it’s the guys in the truck, the accountants, or our bottle guys, it will 100 percent influence on our success as a company. My husband and co-owner of Dairy Delivery,
Daren, and I aren’t any more important than the rest of the company.” She said that one of her biggest motivations to get out of bed every morning and continue to work hard are Dairy Delivery’s employees, who all live in Sonoma County.
“I have 48 employees who rely on me to work hard and have a successful company so that they can provide for their families, and that’s what really motivates me,” Cramer said. “When the time is right, and we are ready to leave, my number one goal is to make sure my employees are taken care of.”
The company was founded by Susan Matthewman who moved to Sonoma County from New York. Originally, she provided locally sourced duck eggs and goat milk from family farms to small stores and co-ops in the Sonoma County area. As demand grew for local, clean, natural products, so did Dairy Delivery’s list of products as well as territory.
Cramer said that mentorship from Dairy Delivery’s founder Matthewman was invaluable to her growth, development an eventual ability to take over the company.
“When I started at Dairy Delivery, I was just 17 years old so everything I learned, I learned from the ground up,” Cramer said. “The company at that point was really more natural food focused,
so tofu was a real change for me because I came from a home-grown meat and potato family.”
She said she enjoyed the challenge of learning about a totally different side of business and consumer preferences.
“I always knew people with dairies, but I didn’t know anything about the manufacturing side, I didn’t know how it all came together,” Cramer said. “I saw the trucks on the highway, but I didn’t know how all the arms functioned.”
Cramer said that during the time when she started with company the natural food industry changed and became more mainstreamed with more dairy products available.
“We helped pioneer a lot of younger companies in the greater Bay Area,” Cramer said. “We are a grassroots company and therefore, shared many of the same philosophies as the companies we worked with.”
Dairy Delivery was one of the first trucks to take Clover Sonoma Farms to stores in the Bay area. Today, the company is Clover Sonoma’s longest and largest distributor.
Cramer, who was born and raised in Sonoma County said that although she didn’t grow up in the ag community, her husband and co-owner of Dairy Delivery, Daren, grew up on a family farm in Petaluma, was a 4-H member and has always somehow been involved in some kind of agriculture locally.
Dairy Delivery has been a longtime Farm Bureau member and a major supporter of the Great Sonoma Crab & Wine Fest. Cramer said that Dairy Delivery is a Farm Bureau member because she sees value in supporting an organization that supports farmers and ranchers in Sonoma County.
“We are members because I think that it’s important to support anything that has to do with the agricultural world, I think it’s the right thing to do,” Cramer said. “If we didn’t have dairy farms, if we didn’t farmers producing milk, we wouldn’t have our company. I know Farm Bureau supports our customers.”
She said that it is important to take care of local businesses, to take care of your community and to take care of your own.
“Susan founded the company with those guiding principles,” Cramer said. “Daren and I have tried really hard to stay true to that.”
Cramer said that because the company is industry driven, change is constant. “To think back to where I started and compare it to business today, things are dramatically different,” Cramer said. “Over the years, despite going through many changes, this company has been really good to me and to my family.”
She said that she appreciates her role in the supply chain and her involvement in the Sonoma County agriculture community.
“It’s nice to see the whole thing come together,” Cramer said. “Knowing all the labor and all the parts and pieces that go into a final product and then for us to bring it to the store and know that the consumer has options and will get something good. To me, that’s what it means to take care of our own.”