Blessed with success
Advocating a noble and humble approach to doing business, Braswell Family Farms is aiming to become the leading egg and feed provider on the East Coast of the USA
Strong faith has guided Braswell Family Farms in the 75 years since its foundation, first as a corn grinder, and later as an egg and feed provider. The business was established by the great-grandfather and the great-great-uncle of current President, Trey Braswell, who is now the fourth-generation leader of Braswell. “Our overarching core value is our firm belief that the company is the Lord’s and we are here to take care of it, be its responsible stewards, and run it in a way that glorifies Him,” he begins.
Adhering to its Christian values has allowed Braswell to not only grow in business terms, but do it with grace, acting ethically towards its customers, partners, and employees alike. “Our core principles encompass Family, Accountability, Integrity, Teamwork, and Humility – FAITH. All of these are rather self-explanatory, but they truly permeate every activity we get engaged with. To give you an example, from the standpoint of humility, we treat the business as a gift. We regard our job as an opportunity to take care of each other, while serving our customers well,” Trey maintains, referring to Psalm 24:1, which teaches us that all that we have, belongs to God.
Braswell’s profile as a genuine ‘people’s company’ is most clearly enhanced by the fact that it does everything in its power to ensure its employees’ wellbeing, even outside of work. Trey explains: “The reason we go the extra mile and spend the extra dollar, is to take care of the families that work with us. For instance, we care about their marriages, by offering free counselling. We also have a corporate chaplain who provides crisis care and is at our employees’ disposal at all times during the day. Naturally, we also pay competitive wages and grant lucrative earnings opportunities.
“Just recently, we have formed what we call our ‘caring team’. It is a group of people who are in non-executive roles, but have been empowered with a budget they can use to support colleagues in need. We are setting up a crisis caring fund now to help employees who come across unexpected hard times, to ensure that the company has money aside to pull from and step in for them.”
This honourable mentality is similarly applied to Braswell’s business relationships. Ever since the late 1980s, the company has been one of the most trusted (and currently the second largest) Eggland’s Best franchisees in the USA – one of the most successful specialist egg brands in the country. Furthermore, since its very beginning, the business has partnered with other family farms who produce eggs for Braswell. “About half of our egg production comes from our own facilities, and the other half is generated by other small family farms we work with. They are integral to our operations and, besides, we love to involve as many new people in the business as possible.”
From a customer perspective, it is beyond any doubt that Braswell aims to provide the safest and highest quality eggs and feed, because, as Trey points out, “the consumers are rightfully interested in the provenance of the food they and their families consume.” To bring the company closer to the customers, Braswell’s management took a decision to rebrand the business in 2017, giving it its current name – Braswell Family Farms, in an attempt to more accurately capture its identity and ways of operation.
“The more practical side of the rebranding is that we really thought our several operating companies should be trading under one name. Some customers used to know us as Braswell Foods, while others referred to the business using the names of some of our smaller companies, so I felt it was important to establish a solid and clear brand identity, which emphasises the fact that we are a family farm that can be trusted,” Trey reasons.
In 1998, Braswell built its first egg packaging facility in its home town of Nashville, NC, and over the last couple of years has invested substantially in the plant. “We have installed upgraded technology to make the packaging process more efficient, which has given us more traceability from a food safety point of view. As we would like to expand our presence across both the Southeast and Northeast, our long-term ambition is to open a second distribution and packaging facility,” Trey reveals, adding that the biggest decision for the company in the next few years will concern the exact location of the plant.
“On top of this, we have noticed some great potential in the pasture-raised eggs marketplace, hence the construction of our first pasture-raised farm, which we built after contracting with a small family farm in Virginia. All in all, we are constantly examining the market to understand how we can best serve our customers’ needs. A year and a half ago, we took a look at our business model and realised we needed to be more of a strategic partner to our retailers, which has led to a more forward-thinking process of better understanding category trends and consumer requirements,” he analyses.
To sum up, Trey reiterates Braswell’s philosophy that the manner in which goals are pursued carries more weight than the strive to realise them at all costs. “Our desire is to be the premier egg and feed provider on the East Coast and we try to focus on how we behave while trying to get there. More than everything, we want to be very considerate and honour the Lord as we seek to achieve our goals.”