Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company has been named 2019 Small Business of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s San Francisco District Office.
The award will be presented May 8 during San Francisco’s annual Small Business Week celebration, according to a May 1 announcement by Capital Access Group. It was the SBA 504 lender that financed the company’s expansion in Petaluma.
Co-owners and sisters Diana Giacomini Hagan, Lynn Giacomini Stray, and Jill Giacomini Basch were nominated for successfully transitioning their second-generation family business from milk production to environmentally sustainable, artisanal cheese making to reduce stress on the land, according to statement from Jacklyn Jordan, president and CEO, Capital Access Group.
“It is an honor to be recognized by the SBA’s San Francisco District Office as their 2019 Small Business of the Year, and we are grateful to Capital Access Group and the SBA for supporting our vision, but the real credit belongs to our employees,” said Diana Giacomini Hagan, chief financial officer for the dairy processor, in the announcement. “This has been a really exciting time for our company, and our employees are over the moon about our growth plan and excited for the opportunity to grow on the job and learn new skills. None of this would have been possible without their support.”
Founded in 1959 by Bob and Dean Giacomini, the Marin County business started out as a 720-acre dairy. In 2000, three of their daughters joined the business and transitioned it from milk production to cheese then opened a $7 million plant in Petaluma last year. The Business Journal profiled the sisters in September.
The company currently employs 85 people and expects to add up to 15 new hires over the next two years, with the goal of doubling cheese production in the next five years, according to the release.
“We are fortunate to be able to produce our products in two locations in Marin and Sonoma, but we believe we have a greater responsibility to the larger community, to the economic environment, and to the agricultural landscape of the North Bay,” said Giacomini Basch, chief marketing officer. “We’re focused on being business-oriented conservationists, because we realize that the cheese starts not just with healthy animals but with how we take care of the pastures. Only through sustainable farming practices can the land itself pay the necessary dividends beneficial to the future of our business — allowing us to raise healthy animals that produce the highest quality milk.”
“We were so pleased to nominate Diana, Lynn, and Jill for this prestigious award,” said Jordan. “These amazing women have not only created an iconic brand with award-winning, artisanal cheeses, they also created the conditions for a more sustainable business that will serve future generations.”