On a hot summer day, is there anything better than crunching down on a delicious FatBoy ice cream sandwich?
Many Utahns may not be aware that these ice cream delights are made right here in Utah, at the very successful Casper’s Ice Cream plant in Richmond, Cache County, in the heart of Utah’s dairy country.
Casper’s has been making ice cream for 95 years and now makes more than 200,000 FatBoys a day — some 485 tons. That’s a lot of FatBoys, sold at more than 6,800 retail locations nationwide.
As evidence of Casper’s success, President and CEO Paul Casper Merrill was recently named Utah Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration, as part of Small Business Week.
Merrill is a fitting representative of Utah’s small business community, which forms the backbone of Utah’s economy and job opportunities.
Small Business Association administrator Linda McMahon recently said this about America’s 30 million small businesses: “Small businesses truly are the engines of our economy — and our communities. Over half of the U.S. workforce either owns or works for a small business, and small businesses create two out of every three net new jobs in the private sector. Small businesses may not put their names on stadiums and skyscrapers, but they likely put them on the uniforms of their local Little League and bowling teams. They are the delis and salons and retailers and manufacturers that make each community special. Across our great country, neighborhoods and families depend on the success of small business.”
In Utah, big businesses often get the headlines. But Utah leaders and institutions are also focused on supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs that create new wealth and provide the bulk of job growth.
Utah’s Chambers of Commerce, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the World Trade Center Utah and numerous business associations serve the small business community. The financial services industry, including my own bank, supports small businesses and works with the Small Business Association to provide loans for equipment and expansion.
Our federal representatives also have effectively watched out for small businesses. Every member of our delegation understands that small businesses are the foundation of our free enterprise system and must be free from onerous government regulations.
For example, U.S. Congresswoman Mia Love from Utah was instrumental in the bipartisan passage of SB2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, which represents the most significant pro-growth financial regulatory relief package in a generation.
Her own bill, The Small Bank Holding Company Relief Act, was incorporated into the legislation. It will make it easier for small banks to lend money in their communities, striking a balance between ensuring a safe and sound banking system and promoting economic growth.
It is a good regulatory and business climate that allows businesses like Casper’s Ice Cream to overcome difficult challenges and flourish.
As a boy, Paul Merrill watched as his father and grandfather switched from hand-dipping ice cream bars into chocolate and chopped peanuts to an automated system that boosted the company’s competitive edge.
Later, after taking charge of the company in 2002, he remembered that lesson as he implemented lean manufacturing, built a new, more efficient and more automated plant, fought through the recession and increased sales from $22 million in 2014 to $35 million by 2016. Three Small Business Association 504 loans supported the company’s expansion. He had set a goal of reaching $20 million in sales by 2020 and achieved that goal six years early.
I congratulate Paul Merrill as Utah’s Small Business Person of the Year, and the thousands of other Utahns who are running small businesses and seeking success for their enterprises, their employees and their communities.
Just thinking about Casper’s makes me hungry for a FatBoy nut sundae.