Past Ventures

Pioneer Snacks

Pioneer Snacks, Inc. was founded in 1986 and quickly grew to become a leading innovator in the Meat Snack industry. Pioneer produced a full line of premium meat snacks, specializing in natural style beef jerky, meat sticks, and kippered beefsteak.  Their focus on innovation and category expansion led to the introduction of new segment offerings, including western dry smoked sausage, wood-smoked beef jerky, and Road Ready Canister Snacks, a  line of snack sticks packed in clear plastic reclosable canisters. In the time time they spent in the market, Road-Ready canisters were picked up by several mainstream retailers nationwide and chosen as the “Best New Product” of 2005 by the National Association of Convenience Stores. In 2006, Pioneer Snacks was sold to Jack E. Link, co-owner of Jack Links Snack Foods, one of the largest meat snack manufacturers in the country.

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Melody Farms

Livonia-based Melody Farms was founded by Tom George in 1950 as Tom George & Sons Dairy Distributors. The company began by selling and delivering milk from the Wilson Dairy to three customers, with George hoping for $1 million in sales some day. With time, a few name changes and three generations of Georges at the helm, Melody Farms grew into a producer of milk, ice cream, other dairy foods, bottled water and fruit juice. The company had some of the most recognized products in metro Detroit, including Stroh’s and Sanders ice creams. Melody Farms ranked No. 91 on Crain’s list of the top 200 privately owned companies. The company reported revenue of $117 million in 2001 and $121 million in 2002. Melody Farms L.L.C was sold in 2003 to Dallas-based Dean Foods Co.