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Columbia Business Monthly

#22 - Duke Brands

Dec 04, 2018 04:02PM ● By Kathleen Maris
Year Founded: Duke Brands (2017), Duke Foods(1964) and Duke Sandwich Company (1978)
Founders: Loran Smart (Duke Foods), Richard Smart (Duke Sandwich Company), Andrew Smart (Duke Brands)
Headquarters location: Greenville
Number of other locations: 1 corporate headquarters, 1 food production manufacturing facility, 2 restaurants
Number of employees (start): 1 (Eugenia Duke)
Number of employees (present): Duke Foods: 186, Duke Sandwich Company: 15, Duke Brands: 18

Duke Brands is a family-owned and operated private holding company committed to building on its 100-year history of success in food service and production with a portfolio of brands dedicated to quality and attention to customer service long forgotten. Its success is the direct result of the vision of our leadership and the commitment, talent, and integrity of its team. 

Both Duke Foods and Duke Sandwich Company are subsidiaries of Duke Brands, a family owned and operated private holding company. Duke Brands currently operates a state-of-the-art food manufacturing facility in Easley and two Duke Sandwich Co. restaurant locations in Greenville. The corporate headquarters is in downtown Greenville across from Falls Park.

What are the keys to your company’s rapid growth? 
Andrew Smart (CEO and President): Our company thrives in an environment of innovation and integrity. With a team that is consistently challenging themselves and one another, we live by the motto “Best is the Standard,” with our core values at the center of all we do. Through market research and a nimble attitude to serving our customers, we have grown largely through key account growth and new business opportunities based on our industry reputation for quality.
 
What’s in store for your company? 
As always, our focus is on improving the lives of our employees and those in the community. We are focused on giving back and encouraging employee development and promotion within our company. From a market standpoint, 2018 saw the release of three new product lines in stores around the country — a line of party shareable dips called Shindigs; a premium seafood dip line, Siren’s Catch; and our new line of dessert dips, Dippin’ Delights. Also, enhancements to our Greenville restaurant locations and our manufacturing facility are on the radar for late 2018.
 
What are your firm’s biggest challenges and how do you plan to overcome them? 
Food manufacturing is an incredibly competitive space, and one of the biggest challenges is that with growth comes increased competition and attention to our market innovation strategies. But with all challenges, we are presented with opportunities to challenge ourselves and grow in our core competencies.
 
What trends and innovations do you see down the line for your industry? 
With an increased focus on health and ingredients, we are evolving alongside trends towards cleaner labels, healthier options, and explorations of flavors from around the world. We are also increasing focus on our baked goods section as we continue to expand our innovation into the prepared and frozen bakery section. Other innovation will revolve around flavor trends in our core competencies and brand partnerships to develop products around nationally recognized brands.
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