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Chapter XII. The Evolution of Technology... > Background Information of Dakin Farm...

Background Information of Dakin Farms

Dakin Farms is a Vermont company which produces maple syrup, cheddar cheese, smoked meats and other speciality foods. The central office is located in Ferrisburg, Vermont. In 1960, Sam and Joan Cutting purchased the 130-acres farm and relocated their family from Connecticut. At first the farm stand which had been added to the property was a family hobby which they operated during the summer months, where they mainly sold Vermont maple syrup. Then they began its business with a small roadside stand and sold pure Vermont maple syrup to tourists in 1980. Sam Cutting Jr., the president of Dakin Farms, manages all marketing functions in order to expand the mail order operations. The company mails out major catalogs, flyers, and newsletters once every three months. Their customers include individuals who purchase packages of products for their friends and relatives for special occasions. Other customers include those who respond to their direct mail advertising and tourists who stopped in at the retail store while visiting Vermont. Dakin Farms relies extensively on repeat business by retaining their customers. The smaller competitors located outside the metropolitan areas rely on attracting potential customers through traffic and mail order. Furthermore, regional and national companies have the advantage of making bulk purchases that in turn reduces the cost of goods.

Dakin Farms does not produce from scratch. Instead, they perform value-added processes by manufacturing a fairly substantial amount of their products themselves. They purchase their maple syrup from local Vermont producers, blend, and pack them into a consistent, high quality product. Furthermore, by operating their own smoke house, they are able to smoke meats using the company’s choice of ingredients, thus ensuring product quality and unique flavors. They also produce selected cheeses. These and other procedures ensure that all perishable goods are properly stored, and marketed as “made in Vermont” products. Dakin Farms’ products are competitive, ranging from local Vermont businesses (Cold Hollow, Cider Mill, and Harrington’s) to national companies such as Hickory Farms. The number of employees in the company varies during the year. During the busy holiday season Dakin Farms employed over 100 people and shipped up to 4,000 packages a day. Eighty to ninety percent of Dakin’s annual sales normally occur during the peak season. Dakin Farms’ sales revenue for the year 1994 was U.S. $2.5 million and $4 million in the year 2001. Furthermore, the line of business has changed from selling syrup at a roadside stand to being primarily a specialty foods mail order business.


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