Our work in food is visceral. It’s immediate. It’s supremely intimate to serve a role in preparing the daily bread for people across our planet.

So when a food company builds a loyal following, when it resonates with its customers and endures, even thrives, we celebrate its success.

As I travel around the country and beyond, visiting with snack and bakery businesses, I have the remarkable privilege of learning some of their unique and enterprising pathways to success. It’s a window to our nation’s soul, to qualities that aspire toward the best of the American spirit.

Through my decades of working within the food industry, commonalities emerge. Successful businesses seek balance. They seek equity. They make decisions for the right reasons. They take a progressive mindset. They seek efficiency and minimize impact. All along the way, they learn how to get better.

Successful companies also put people first—something that’s so vital in today’s challenging workforce environment. They participate in their communities, seeking to lift each other up. As we share our lives, we learn from each other, and build each other up. We get better.

Diversified businesses often find success. Racial, ethnic, and gender diversity will continue to form a leading edge across the face of food industry leadership.

But diversity casts its net further. Customer diversity helps build successful businesses. Building a balanced customer portfolio brings better market stability—especially for a business that can maintain a strong degree of flexibility in their operation, a nimble nature that can quickly fluctuate with inevitable market shifts, such as from foodservice to retail, and economically lean times to better days of relative plenty.

In every issue of Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery, we celebrate these snack and bakery business successes. This month, we look at how leveraged business interests factored into success at Seattle’s Schwartz Brothers Bakery, a baking business tied to the early days of Starbucks that has subsequently remade itself as a national, diversified wholesale baker serving the nation’s top retailers. Schwartz Brothers also leads with a people-first attitude that resonates with its workforce—and its community.

As you see our SF&WB staff at industry events—or when you have a moment to drop us an email—please take a minute to share a success story with us, and those generally around you, shining a deserving light on snack, bakery, and allied businesses, from all walks of the industry, that embody an enterprising spirit of ingenuity worthy of the spotlight. These stories transcend divisions. Together, we get better.