From home-delivered glass milk bottles to nationally distributed on-the-go milk produced at a rate of 400-plus bottles a minute. A Model T delivery truck to a fleet of more than 1,000 vehicles. One route driver to 2,860 associates nationwide. One Irish immigrant operating a small dairy to one Arizona family operating a comprehensive business serving customers nationwide. That's the story of Shamrock.
"While many things have changed since my father established Shamrock Dairy in 1922, three things remain the same and are the drivers of our growth: an innovative approach to business, an unrelenting quality in people and products, and a strong commitment to the community," said Norman McClelland, CEO of Shamrock Farms in a prepared statement.
Over the past nine decades, Shamrock Foods Co. (parent company of Shamrock Farms) has been among the first in its industry to embrace new technology and introduce new products. This is demonstrated even as early as 1926, when Shamrock Farms became one of the first dairies to meet the requirements of the new pasteurization process. Within the last decade alone Shamrock Farms revolutionized the on-the-go milk category, opened its educational public Farm Tour, launched Arizona's first local organic milk line, achieved national distribution and created the first-ever chocolate milk fortified with protein for sports recovery, among many other product innovations.
Shamrock Farms has also introduced sustainable practices companywide, including water stewardship through its waste-water pre-treatment system at its manufacturing plant and a state-of-the-art farm manure management system and recycling program whereby manure is used as a natural fertilizer at local farms.
This innovative approach to business extends beyond the dairy with its sister company Shamrock Foods – one of the top 10 foodservice distribution companies nationwide – offering 16,000 line items including Shamrock Farms dairy products. Serving customers across the Southwest via warehouses in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico, Shamrock Foods is a critical part of the company's long-term growth.
"We've never been one to follow the herd, so to speak. Rather, we set the standard whether it's with regards to our products, our community or our people," added McClelland.
Shamrock Farms long-standing contribution of 80,000 pounds of food to Arizona food banks every month and support of more than 80 non-profit organizations every year are testament to the company's community commitment, as are its sponsorships of both Arizona State University and University of Arizona's athletic programs. What's more, the company stepped forward as a major sponsor to help ensure Arizona's Centennial was celebrated.
With regards to its people, Shamrock associates have been with the company an average of nearly 8 years with 255 associates celebrating between 20- and 40-plus years, which demonstrates the company's commitment to its family of associates. Also, Shamrock, comprised of Shamrock Farms and Shamrock Foods, is one of Arizona's largest privately held employers.
Despite being one of the largest family-owned and operated dairies nationwide, Shamrock Farms has maintained its image as Arizona's "hometown dairy," perhaps in part thanks to the public and school tours offered at its real working dairy farm. Consumers are able to see exactly where their milk and dairy products come from, and also get a good understanding of the family values driving the business through a dairy museum that documents the McClelland history alongside dairy milestones.
"I attribute the longevity of our company to our balance of strong values with never-ending commitment to innovation,'" added McClelland. "It's how we do things, and how we'll continue to do things, and why I believe this company truly is 90 years young. It's just beginning."