#19 - Duke Brands
Nov 01, 2017 11:47AM
By Emily Stevenson
#19 Duke Brands
Andrew T. Smart, CEO
Duke Brands was created in 2017 as a parent company to Duke Foods and Duke Sandwich Company, created years after Eugenia Duke began to sell sandwiches spread with her homemade mayonnaise in 1917. Duke Brands has its corporate headquarters in downtown Greenville. The overall brand offers include sandwiches, spreads, and dips and salsa.
What are the keys to your company’s rapid growth?
Our emphasis on growing people and producing quality products.
What do you see as your company’s greatest opportunities in the future?
Continuing to grow deeper relationships with our current clients while exploring new opportunities for growth.
What are your biggest challenges and how do you plan to overcome them?
People are our greatest strength and continuing to grow people is our biggest challenge.
What advice can you offer someone just starting a business?
Don’t give up and stay true to who you are.
What is your strategy for innovation?
Being willing to try new things and never settling for the status quo.
Who do you consider to be your mentor/mentors in business?
Jesus was the greatest mentor ever. I strive to follow his example of servant leadership in every aspect of my life.
Does your company’s geographic location offer any specific advantages?
Our heritage is in Greenville, so that’s an advantage for us.
How many employees do you have and do you plan to add any in the coming year?
We are currently employ just under 200 people.
Have there been any entrepreneurs in your family?
I grew up in the family business with my father and grandfather and learned a great deal from their experience and example.
How old were they when they started the company?
Our heritage extends back more than 100 years.
How is your company legally structured?
We are a South Carolina entity.
What is the hardest thing about being a founder?
Keeping the vision in front of everyone and on everyone’s mind.
What is the best thing about being a founder?
The satisfaction of creating a vision that impacts people positively.
If you are a founder, at what point did you start paying yourself?
There were many times when getting paid was not guaranteed, but after more than 11 years, we have thankfully overcome that.
How much money did you use to start your business?
There wasn’t a specific sum of money since we bootstrapped every opportunity the first few years to build the business.