This candid and inspiring memoir shares the secrets that made Sargento Cheese a household name and the key managerial strategies that empower entrepreneurs to succeed in business and life.
Leonard Gentine operated a financially challenged mortuary business for 16 years. Yet, by the time he died, he stood at the helm of Sargento Foods Inc.-a profitable, nationally recognized cheese company. How does one go from a struggling funeral director to a competitive force in the natural cheese category? TREATED LIKE FAMILYis that full, untold story. Leonard believed in a simple philosophy: Hire good people and treat them like family. Yet that belief, admittedly foundational to the company, proved to be only one of many tenets underlying his success. It is the story of Sargento but also of its employees who, empowered by the Gentine family, took a vision and nurtured it into a formidable company.
The narrative is based on over 150 interviews-the collective voices of the company’s employees, retirees and friends. This is an unvarnished portrait of Sargento, its management, and the trials leading to its influential place in the cheese industry.
Within the pages of this story lie key concepts for others seeking to replicate Leonard Gentine’s entrepreneurial success: the importance of a corporate culture based on the value of its employees, servant leadership, and the belief that a company’s ownership is not narrowly defined to its shareholders or by its products.