Treated Like Family: How an Entrepreneur and His

Treated Like Family: How an Entrepreneur and His "Employee Family" Built Sargento, a Billion-Dollar Cheese Company

by Tom Faley
Treated Like Family: How an Entrepreneur and His

Treated Like Family: How an Entrepreneur and His "Employee Family" Built Sargento, a Billion-Dollar Cheese Company

by Tom Faley


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At the age of nineteen, high school diploma in hand, Leonard Gentine knew two things: he wanted to own a family business that would pass from generation to generation, and he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Dolores Becker, a girl he'd met on a blind date.

For Leonard, life didn't prove that simple.

This biography, told from the viewpoint of four generations of the Gentine family, places the reader in Leonard's shoes as he advances from young man to old age and discovers life's foundational lessons. Along the way, he endures outstanding debts, disappointments, and a collection of small businesses, all with Dolores at his side. It's an inspirational story of perseverance, personal integrity, and a mind-set of always doing the right thing-as painful as that may be in the short term.

Treated Like Family details the development of Sargento-a nationally recognized cheese company and household name. At the same time, it's a timeless story that showcases the importance of the individual and how a family united in a single purpose within the right culture is unstoppable.
Tom Faley invites the reader into the lives of the Gentine family and the men and women they hired, deftly weaving a story grounded in over 180 interviews-the collective voices of the company's employees, retirees, and friends.

Treated Like Family offers a rare glimpse into the creative mind of an innovator and entrepreneur and underscores the rewards for all of us when we maintain our humanity toward one another: When one person motivates others to pull together, at times facing unspeakable odds, he is able not only to change their lives but to alter history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781478992868
Publisher: Center Street
Publication date: 04/10/2018
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Tom Faley, as a twenty-nine-year employee of Sargento, had the opportunity to share numerous, private conversations with the founder, Leonard Gentine, before his passing. As a long-term veteran of Sargento, Tom speaks on a large portion of the corporate history from first-hand experience. Holding an MBA in Marketing, Tom played active roles in shaping Sargento, including starting and developing many departments within the company: marketing, consumer research, consumer promotions and new product development. In addition, he holds a patent in his name for Sargento. For over eight years, he has written a blog as well as weekly essays underscoring the company's culture.

Table of Contents

Prologue-Chavannes-les-Grands, France, March 1892 1

Chapter 1 Out of the Blue, 1933 7

Chapter 2 The Obligation, 1933 11

Chapter 3 Gentine Funeral Service, 1937 20

Chapter 4 A High School Teacher's Plea, 1941 26

Chapter 5 Catalysts of Change, 1941 37

Chapter 6 Responsibilities, 1943 44

Chapter 7 The Family Expands, 1946 50

Chapter 8 The Turning Point at Long Last, 1949 60

Chapter 9 Plymouth Cheese Counter, 1949 69

Chapter 10 Genstrupp, 1951 78

Chapter 11 A Bigger Idea, 1953 89

Chapter 12 It Begins, October 23, 1953 94

Chapter 13 The Sartori-Gentine-O'Connell Gang, 1953 102

Chapter 14 The Early Beginnings of Sargento, Spring 1955 109

Chapter 15 Attempting the Impossible, Fall 1955 115

Chapter 16 A Permanent Production Facility, 1956 122

Chapter 17 Sargento Widens Its Reach, 1958 132

Chapter 18 Leonard Impacts the Cheese Industry-Again, 1958 138

Chapter 19 Leonard's Focus Narrows, May 1963 147

Chapter 20 Central Wrap, 1964 152

Chapter 21 A Shift in Sargento Ownership, 1964 160

Chapter 22 For the Love of Plymouth, 1965 168

Chapter 23 Doing the Right Thing: Sowing Family Values, 1967 176

Chapter 24 Betting the Future on Metal Pegs, 1969 186

Chapter 25 Two Become One, 1972-1974 195

Chapter 26 First Key Milestone, 1977 202

Chapter 27 A Near-Death Experience, 1978 211

Chapter 28 Seeds Planted, 1981 218

Chapter 29 Persnickety, 1982 225

Chapter 30 Reclosing the Opening, 1987 238

Chapter 31 A Day in a Life, 1990 247

Chapter 32 Recognitions and Honors Earned, 1991 258

Chapter 33 The Cheese Industry Mourns a Loss, 1991 266

Chapter 34 Giving Back, 1992-1993 272

Chapter 35 Sargento Mourns Once More, 1993 276

Chapter 36 Industry Leadership, 1994-1996 281

Chapter 37 An Era Ends, a Future Defined, 1996 288

Chapter 38 The Wizards of ROZ, 2001 296

Chapter 39 Milestones and Modest Mastery, 2012 303

Chapter 40 The Torch Is Passed, 2013 313

Epilogue 2016-2018 320

Appendix A 327

Appendix B 331

Acknowledgments 333

About the Author 337

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