After serving in France during WWI, Charles Suter founded The Suter Company in 1925 with a tremendous work ethic, strong sense of Integrity, and a simple desire to start his own business. During its humble beginnings the Company moved from the original farm in Palatine, to Genoa, to downtown Sycamore before finally constructing the original portion of the May Street production facility in Sycamore, IL in 1947. The Company operated an egg candling and eviscerating operation in the early years – distributing chicken meat and eggs to restaurants throughout Northern Illinois. Survival through the Great Depression and WWII was the top priority of the early years. Charles’ legacy can be summed up by the ideals of hard work, persistence, and Integrity. His founding values remain alive today and are fundamental to the ongoing success of the Company more than 90 years after he decided to set out on his own. Charles introduced his two sons to the business at a young age and eventually passed the reins over to George and Chuck in the mid-1950’s after they completed college and military commitments. Charles retired by 1960 and passed away in 1970.
With the second generation came an infusion of new ideas and energy. George and Chuck re-invented the Company as the USDA began to regulate poultry in 1956, the larger poultry slaughtering operations began to move to the Southern United States, and markets began to demand more innovation. Unafraid to change with the times, slaughtering was discontinued and canning lines were started bringing a unique offering to the foodservice distribution channel. The product offering was diversified with chicken still at the heart of a wide range of shelf stable, foodservice products including; canned boned chicken, chicken broth, chicken a la king, chicken & dumplings and many other poultry based items. During the 1960’s a strong manufacturing foundation was established as distribution expanded nationwide. Building on the success of this large customer base, the Company continued to innovate by introducing a proprietary line of shelf stable entrée salads in 1970 and refrigerated salads in the early 1980’s. Chuck retired from the Company in 1983. George led the Company for nearly four decades until his retirement at the end of 1998. In addition to carrying on the traditions of hard work and integrity he was taught by his father, the Company established rigorous disciplines for outstanding quality and food safety programs as well as world class productivity under George’s leadership. Like his father, George taught his two sons the business starting from a very young age.
After working summers in the plant while going to school throughout the 1980’s Tim and Dan Suter joined the Company full-time in 1990 and infused a sense of urgency for propelling the business to a new level of growth and innovation. The Company introduced a line of unique shelf stable lunch kits in the early 90’s, a one-of-a-kind line of deviled eggs in 1998 and continued to grow the line of refrigerated entrée salads through co-pack and private label opportunities in the United States as well as internationally. Tim became President upon his father’s retirement at the end of 1998 and has led an era of rapid growth including multiple physical expansions of the May Street plant as well as the construction of the new, state-of-the-art production facility on Bethany Road in Sycamore, IL. A focus on customer success has led to strong, long-term partnerships that have fueled the growth. Under Tim’s leadership the Company has continued the family-feel of the organization even during times of change, growth, and competitive pressure. Through clarity of Mission, Values, and Vision the Company has created a flourishing culture built on a unique and comprehensive level of care for its employees and significant contributions to the surrounding community.
After three generations and more than 95 years The Suter family announced in September of 2020 the creation of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). This exciting news is a great enhancement to our already strong culture and core values. Making all Suter Company employees the 4th generation of owners will further strengthen our commitment to all stakeholders in the business. From taking great care of our customers to providing extraordinary care for every employee, becoming an ESOP builds passion and energy for the work we do every day.
At The Suter Company we are proud of our rich history that has spanned more than 95 years. Our strong core values and work ethic, world class people and facilities, and robust safety, food safety and quality systems give us reason for optimism for creating an exciting future. “Business, on a Mission” is more than just a tag line. It inspires our actions every day.