Milton Sender had a hunch 33 years ago that would prove to be true -- that private-label products would become of great importance to the supermarket landscape.
Based on that notion, Sender founded Daymon Associates on July 5, 1970, with the late Peter Schwartz and has never looked back.
A small operation at first, Stamford, Conn.-based Daymon has always worked with retailers and manufacturers on all aspects of private label, from sales and marketing to package design and retail execution. Its strength lies in the way in which the firm bridges the large gap that generally exists between retailers and manufacturers during their common pursuit of profitability.
Today, the company operates in all 50 states plus 16 countries and employs just under 10,000 people. Perhaps more importantly, under Sender's reign Daymon has helped to put private label on the map in the past three decades, sending teams of associates to work behind the scenes with some of the leading grocers on what was to become their highly successful product lines. Daymon has made similar progress in other channels as well.
"There was a need in the industry for private-label specialization," Sender told SN. "When we started, private label had a 4% penetration level in this country; now it's close to 20%," he said, adding that the average of all Daymon customers is closer to 25%.
At the time of the company's inception, private-label products were considered inferior to national brands, but "Peter and Milt recognized that private-label products represented a tremendous opportunity for consumers, retailers and manufacturers. They realized that a dramatically different approach was needed -- one that could meet the needs of both retailers and manufacturers," said Martin Miller, who has worked at Daymon for two years as associate business manager with the Daymon/H-E-B team.
Daymon was not Sender's first foray into the supermarket world. After graduating in 1965 he worked for the now defunct Staff Supermarket Association -- a private-label buying cooperative for 18 supermarket chains, as well as for grocery giant Kroger, during which time he worked alongside fellow Power Player C. Manly Molpus of the Grocery Manufacturers of America (see Page 73).
"Milt Sender's vast knowledge and experience of the industry, the products, the manufacturers and the consumer is immeasurable, and he freely shares his wisdom and insight with the rest of the Daymon family," said Miller.
Going forward, Sender told SN he will strive to keep recruiting individuals that can help Daymon keep serving its clients in the manner in which they have become accustomed. "Our biggest challenge is finding and training good people that are knowledgeable in our narrow world," Sender said.