Specialty Food Magazine

FALL 2018

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://specialtyfoodmagazine.epubxp.com/i/1017167

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Page 49 of 91

C raig Makela's family has been in Santa Barbara, Calif., for generations and was influential in the region's agricultural development. His pioneering success in the domestic olive business is only natural. Along with his wife Cindy, he started Santa Barbara Olive Co. in a garage in 1982 when he was 25. "I had no budget at all and built it into a $15 million company in 28 years," he says, adding that he had originally wanted to own his own winery but couldn't afford it. Previously, he'd worked at Santa Barbara Winery and was attracted to the olive oil business after seeing how the two paralleled one another. Over the decades, the couple has been active in the Specialty Food Association, American Institute of Wine and Food, National Grocers Association, California Grocers Association, and co- founded the California Specialty Food Association. Their com- pany grew to become the largest specialty olive company in the U.S., and was instrumental in modern oil milling and winning over American consumers for its fragrant, green, pungent character. They sold the company in 2009 and when their non-compete clause was up in 2016, they dug back in. Their new California Coast Naturals produces organic olives and five varieties of extra virgin olive oil made from seven types of olives grown on their 101-acre ranch. They are cured with salt and water, never with lye, heat, or pasteurization. Major distribution quickly followed—their friends in the specialty food industry had not forgotten them—and the products are stocked at Ralph's, Bristol Farms, and Walmart, among other outlets. Craig estimates sales will reach $1 million by next year. Meanwhile, he is also the CEO of Oleavicin L.L.C., a medical development company the couple co-founded to manufacture gels from olive tree leaves to target cold sores, canker sores, and other skin problems. "The last 25 years we've seen a resurgence of mom-and-pop olive ranches up and down the coast," he says. "When we retire, our four capable children will take over and where they take the company is entirely up to them." Cr aig and Cindy Makela Santa Barbar a Olive Co., California Coast Natur als, Oleavicin Hall of Fame 2018 T his fall, Sam Mogannam is opening Bi-Rite Cafe in downtown San Francisco, the latest of his Bi-Rite family of businesses. "It's a pretty awesome collaboration with the city of San Francisco and adjacent to a new children's playground, part of a bigger project to create human engagement in the heart of the Civic Center," he says. The quick-service, all-day cafe will offer outdoor seating to unwind over breakfast pastries, egg dishes, signature salads, and sandwiches, soft serve ice cream, and popsicles. There will also be a full line of coffee and espresso drinks. Human engagement has been his lifework. In addition to the beloved and long-running Bi-Rite Market in the Mission District, Mogannam oversees Bi-Rite Creamery & Bakeshop, Bi-Rite Catering, and Bi-Rite Farms, whose organic produce is stocked in the company's stores. Both the flagship market and the newer Bi-Rite Divisidero feature a host of specialty items as well as care- fully sourced meat, poultry, and seafood, and seasonal, restaurant- quality prepared foods. Mogannam is a second-generation owner, a trained chef, and the founder of 18 Reasons, another arm of the business now cel- ebrating its 10th anniversary. The nonprofit is a subsidized cooking and nutrition school benefiting low-income communities through- out the Bay Area. Taking good care of his 320 or so employees is another con- cern. They are offered health insurance, a free meal with each shift, and a profit-sharing program, among other perks. Looking at the even larger picture, Bi-Rite became a Certified B Corporation in 2015, meeting verification standards for public transparency and using the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems. "Connecting food and community is what we do," he says. Sam Mogannam Bi-Rite Family of Businesses Bi-Rite Cafe is a collaboration with the city of San Francisco and adjacent to a new playground, part of a project to create human engagement in the heart of the Civic Center. FALL 2018 47

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