Big Cheese: Small Business Funds Their Corporate Competition
I’m not out to re-invent government, I just want to sell pizza. I contacted Dairy Management directly to inquire as to how the little guy can get with the program and sell more cheese.
Why shouldn’t a small one-unit business that makes a delicious pie not do its civic duty and help those dairy farmers?
My initial phone call to Dairy Management was directed to Stacey Stevens, its public relations director. She had apparently expected a reporter digging for the precise mechanics of how the money gets from someone like me to a company like Domino’s, so she immediately went on the defensive.
Instead I complimented her on the program and asked how I can participate. We had a friendly chat and she promised to pass the inquiry along to colleagues who administer the program.
You can guess how that worked out. Despite numerous phone calls to both the Public Relations Department and attempts to reach the administrators of the program, I was rebuffed. After many unreturned phone calls, I finally managed to reach Stevens and was told, borrowing a phrase from the poultry business, they “decided to put all their eggs in one basket.”
Naturally I inquired why this bountiful horn-of-plenty belonged to my competitor.
Stevens countered that as a downtown Chicago pizza shop, Domino’s, Dairy Management’s marketing partner, was “not my competition” at all. You see, people downtown “would be embarrassed to order the cheap stuff.”
“And how would Dairy Management ever administer a program to serve America’s nearly 60,000 independent pizza shops?” she wondered, oblivious to the fact that it manages somehow to collect money very efficiently from America’s 60,000 dairy farmers.