Adirondack Daily Enterprise, October 6, 1988
Keeping the small-town dairy alive
SARANAC LAKE — Time was that rural communities of upstate New York had their needs supplied by small, family-owned businesses. Then came general stores, which led to the supermarkets and shopping malls of today.
With the influx of these other stores, the specialized supplier seemed to be left out. Yet this isn't necessarily the case in the dairy business. While there aren't as many as there once were, those dairies which remain are doing pretty well.
Just ask Reg Perras at Rosebud Creamery in Saranac Lake.
The dairy is celebrating its 40th year in the same family, and over 20 years in this village. They have been at their present location on River Street for 10 years now.
As Perras explains, the business is carrying on a long tradition of service. "We bought Dairy-Dell from Mandy Newbold in 1965 and ran it for two years under the Dairy-Dell name. That was the A.C. Bartz Co., going way back. Actually there were quite a few small dairies under the Dairy-Dell name," he said.
When Perras came here, the local store spent the first few years serving only the Saranac Lake area. That has since changed to the point where his branch of the Plattsburgh-based Rosebud Creamery serves four counties. "Franklin, Essex, St. Lawrence and Hamilton counties are all covered by this office," Perras said. "With the location in Plattsburgh covering Clinton County, that's five we serve.
Rosebud Creamery supplies its many customers with a wide variety of traditional dairy products.
"We carry a complete line of dairy products, from fluid milk to cottage cheese, sour cream, Cheddars, eggs and ice creams," Perras said.
The Saranac Lake location is a distribution center for the products, most of which are processed and packaged in the Plattsburgh plant and transported in daily. Rosebud also purchases many byproducts of other large dairies, including H.P. Hood and Dairylea.
Perras said that doing business with these companies has allowed his company to expand its product line. "We're carrying a couple of new things, including a new 10-ounce, 100 percent natural fruit juice line and Nestle's Quik chocolate milk," Perras explained.
They are the only distributor of Dairylea products in this area, and they also supply many grocery stores with Hood cheese and yogurt products.
Rosebud also has its own line of skim and other milks in a variety of sizes, as well as a number of products in institutional quantities.
Products are taken to the dairy's customers by way of the regional salesmen, who drive trucks around the area with deliveries to each customer on their regular route three times a week.
Perras said that in the Saranac Lake office there are four route salesmen, one in-plant employee and an office manager. The dairy has 32 employees altogether, with most of them working in the main plant in Plattsburgh.
Perras said the small staff at the local branch makes them all important members of the company's workforce.
"Our office manager is very important. When you call in an order, you talk to Barbara St. John. She keeps the daily operations running smoothly," Perras said.
He encouraged people to call in their orders. "More and more people are calling their orders in, and we like to see that because of the pressures of staying ahead. We're expanding the same way the rest of the area is expanding," Perras noted.
He said that the rest of the staff in the Saranac Lake location is pretty new, with one employee not even given a permanent assignment yet. The expansion of the staff is important to the operation.
"There is an increased need for our products and services," Perras said. "Each year it seems there are fewer dairies around.'
"We enjoy what we're doing, but it does get a little tight sometimes," Perras acknowledged.
He remains confident that the business, operated out of Plattsburgh by Ted and Anne Perras, his brother and sister-in-law, and their son, Bill, will be strong in the coming years.
His own dedication to the local end of the business is a sign of Rosebud Creamery's strength. Reg, his wife Joan, and their three children moved to Saranac Lake in 1965 when Rosebud purchased Dairy-Dell. Since then, he has worked hard to make the business a reliable supplier of all kinds of dairy products. Said Perras: "We're more than happy to keep the dairy business alive and well in this area."
In 2011, the former Rosebud Creamery location at 163 River Street is occupied by Monro Muffler.
2012-10-08 14:54:17 It was very nice reading about your company, We have a few milk bottles an a Red milk crate with your name on it an was wondering how old they are or would you know that?
Thanks Lisa Bassett Theresa,NY —22.214.171.124