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Company Profile

History

When Dunkley’s Dairy first started producing milk over a hundred years ago, milk production was a very different business. Fresh milk was delivered to hundreds of homes across Bermuda by horse-drawn carriage or pedal bikes that had canvas bags to hold the milk, and left in glass bottles at customers’ front doors to be stored in an icebox or buttery. Milk tickets, set out by homeowners, identified how many bottles were needed of what type of milk. It was the early 1900’s, and milk went literally, from the cow to the tabletop.

 

Today, Bermudians continue to enjoy high quality, great tasting, fresh, locally produced milk from Dunkley’s Dairy. For such a small island, particularly one that has evolved so rapidly from an agrarian society to a thriving international business hub, this is quite a feat, one that is not often considered by most locals, and surprises visitors to the Island. Many of us have no idea where our fresh milk comes from!  In fact, tucked away in five farms at Spittal Pond, St. George’s, Somerset and Devonshire, there are presently, approximately 400 mature dairy producing cows contentedly grazing Bermuda’s fertile pastures. Dairy farmers milk the cows each day, storing the milk temporarily at the farms in chilled holding tanks. At 2 a.m. each morning, a Dunkley’s Dairy milk tanker makes its rounds, collecting this fresh milk to be transported back to the dairy by 7 a.m., where it is then stored in a holding tank to be pasteurized, homogenized, tested rigorously for quality and taste, and then put in cartons five days a week.  The dairy production operation is an involved one, demanding a workforce of 75 people, in positions ranging from engineers, warehouse, production operations to drivers, office and sales personnel, with a production day that stretches from 2 a.m. through 9 p.m. each day.

 

Fresh milk must meet the highest international standards for quality and taste. The pasteurization process necessitates the milk be subjected to 175 degree temperatures via high temperature-short term plates, which kills bacteria. The milk must then withstand homogenization, which exerts first 500, then 1500 pounds of pressure as the milk is pushed through small openings. This breaks up the fat in order to ensure consistency of the fat particles through the fluid, so that one can guarantee, for example, that the first carton of 2% milk produced has the exact same amount of fat in it as the last carton at the end of the day. Moreover, within that carton, the first sip of milk imbibed will have the exact same consistency as the last, effectively ending the days when the fatty cream of milk would rise to the top of the pitcher and the bottom would be a thin watery liquid.

 

Through these processes, there is a fail safe mechanism in place, which diverts any product that is not heated thoroughly, incorrectly pressurized, or not cooled properly. Despite this exhaustive, highly sanitized and mechanized system in place, lab technicians at Dunkley’s Dairy still test each day in a fully developed laboratory for quality control, checking for acidity, coliform, standard plate count, fat levels, adulteration, and shelf life. All data is reviewed by dairy management and is open for inspection by Government health inspectors.  One reason that the milk produced at Dunkley’s Dairy passes with flying colors each time starts at the source: Bermuda cows are not treated with Bovine Growth Hormone, nor antibiotics, so fresh locally-produced milk is clean of these chemical additives. Disease is rare to nonexistent in Bermuda as the cows are so geographically isolated from other farms internationally. As a result, Bermudians enjoy some of the cleanest, healthiest milk in the world.

 

Once the milk leaves Dunkley’s, safe handling procedures are still of paramount importance.  Milk is kept at strict temperatures, both in transit and by vendors; stored in cartons rather than plastic jugs so as to limit environmental waste and to protect the milk from the impact of light.  The milk further retains its purity because milk cartons don’t allow odors to seep in as plastic will do if not stored correctly.

 

As you pour your next glass of cold, refreshing milk, assured of its good taste and high quality, give a nod to the dedicated people at Dunkley’s Dairy who every day, bring the moo to you!

 

Dunkley’s rise to the top of the dairy business in Bermuda is a story of a family-owned business success story. The patriarch of the Dunkley business, and great-grandfather to managing partners and brothers Michael and Stephen Dunkley, Henry Dunkley started out as a crop farmer in the early 1900s on a farm along South Shore, Devonshire. His move to dairy farming was by chance; he was owed a debt by a fellow farmer, and was offered 36 cows in payment.

 

While many farmers might find the cows best used for market, the dairy production side of Mr. Dunkley’s farm thrived, and he decided to go into cow farming exclusively, soon becoming a competitive dairy producer. By the early 1960s, Dunkley’s dominated the marketplace. In fact, there were only two other large dairy producers in existence, and Dunkley’s Dairy further reduced its competition by merging with Pioneer Guernsey Dairy in 1968. Shortly afterwards, Dunkley’s purchased the Borden’s dairy plant, a dairy producer which had been set up in the early 1960s to supply reconstituted milk to the US base.

 

Upon winning a contract to supply milk to the US bases in Southampton and St. George’s parishes, Dunkley’s moved its operation to the former Borden plant on Vesey Street in Devonshire, where Dunkley’s still runs its operations.

 

For three quarters of a century, the Dunkley family continued to produce milk from cow to carton, milking the cows, processing the milk, and managing all aspects of the business. Their 12-acre farm at Luke’s Pond in Southampton was a leading modernized facility. They worked with the Chore-Boy Company to create a zero-grazing facility that allowed for 300 cows to be stocked without need for extensive outdoor grazing. Two milking barns were open to the public and the milking aspect of the production was fully visible so visitors could watch the process behind glass, effectively creating a dairy reality show for locals. Chore-Boy selected the farm as an international showcase facility of its products for other farmers, finding Bermuda to be an ideal mid-way location between North America and Europe. In 1972, Dunkley’s decided to give up the farming aspect of the operation, however, finding that there was a surplus of milk on the Island, and thus moved to concentrate on dairy production and wholesale distributing. The farm was leased to Tom Wadson, who now runs a first-rate crop farming operation on the land.

 

Today, the Dunkley’s family remains heavily involved in all aspects of the company. The Hon. Michael H. Dunkley, JP., MP., VP and CEO, is currently the Premier of Bermuda and not actively involved in the daily aspects of the company, while brother Stephen Dunkley is the General Manager. Michael and Stephen’s father, Henry (Bill) Dunkley, ran the business until he passed away in the early 1970s, when his wife, Marye Lee Dunkley, took over as President and Managing Director for almost a decade, while her sons finished university. She continues to hold the position of President today.

 

The boys both started working at the production plant when they were 12, rotating through each job at the facility at their father’s behest, so that they would be intimately aware of each facet of the operation. “We weren’t forced into working for the family business, though,” explains Michael. “Neither of us considered doing anything else - we both loved working here. The Dairy was right next to our home in those days, and we were oftentimes late getting to school in the mornings because we’d be working in the mornings. We were treated just like all the other workers and we liked it that way. When our father died when we were both teenagers it just accelerated the process for us to do what was necessary to take over.”

 

Though Michael has had to step back from the forefront the two are still very much a team, fondly sharing memories of the history of the Dairy, and laughingly arguing over important dates in the company’s development. When Stephen comments that they have a good working relationship, it is met with a joke by Michael that things work well with him as the older and better looking brother who can still beat his little brother up. It is little wonder that their team of employees is so loyal to this relaxed duo and to the company in general, and consider themselves part of the family. Their vendors feel the same way. Dunkley’s has established a reputation for reliability, delivering every day. Even during hurricanes and blackouts Dunkley’s drivers are on the road from 2am onwards. Some drivers are even entrusted with the keys to stores so that they can deliver their products before the stores open. To the extended network of Dunkley’s dairy producers, distribution team and vendors, it’s all family.

 

Having dominated Bermuda’s dairy sector as the Island’s only dairy producer, as well as its largest dairy wholesaler, Dunkley’s Dairy expanded its operations over the last two decades to become the wholesaler for a complete range of dairy products including butter, margarine, eggs, cream, cheese and yogurt. Dunkley's now represents a broad array of international dairy brands. With its strong reputation in Bermuda and its deep distribution network dating back to door-to-door delivery from the early 1900s, it was a natural progression for Dunkley’s from being the wholesale provider of dairy products to expanding to other food lines, including carbonated and noncarbonated beverages, processed and fresh meats, bakery, produce, grocery categories and even pet foods. Dunkley's has also been distributing Mars pet food lines for more than a decade. Click here for an ever growing list of international brands that Dunkley's represents: http://www.dunkleysdairy.com/index.php/suppliers

 

Fresh produce supplies are brought in by container weekly, as well as flown in. Eggs, pork, beef and chicken are all packed fresh for Dunkley’s in Virginia and fresh fish from Steve Conolly Seafood in Massachusetts. In fact, dairy accounts for less than 50% of Dunkley’s sales at this time. In addition to selling to retail outlets and food service operators, Dunkley’s has a network of 250 vending machines, 100 milk dispensers and 200 beverage coolers throughout the Island. Dunkley’s has never had to be aggressive in bringing in new product lines; Tropicana, amongst others, sought Dunkley’s out based on their excellent reputation. As the company expands, the priority remains on nutrition and good taste, but also on maintaining their reputation for reliability and quality control. They actively search for new products in the food sector to complement the current portfolio, but want to expand in a controlled manner to ensure that any new lines they take on are fully represented without conflict to their existing lines.

For the Dunkley’s family business, the future is bright.

 

Management

Dunkley's has a very young and energetic management, that is committed towards growing the sales of all the products that it represents and at the same time giving its customers the best service available on the island.

 

The Hon. Michael H. Dunkley, JP., MP. - VP and CEO, a graduate of the University of Richmond, has been involved in the business since the age of 21.  He is currently the Premier of Bermuda and is not actively involved in the daily aspects of the company.

 

Stephen Dunkley - VP and General Manager, has also been actively involved in the business since the age of 19 and is in close contact with major customers on a daily basis.

 

Gary Knight FCA, CFO, brings external experience of food production, wholesale and distribution both in Bermuda and in the UK.

 

All three are keen sportsmen, competing at the highest levels in Bermuda in their respective sports.

 

Dunkley's has a staff of over eighty, including a sales force of sixteen covering the island daily.

 

Company Advantages

Dunkley's developed its distribution network in Bermuda around the supply of dairy products, both to retail outlets and to food service providers.

 

The need for care in handling 'short shelf life' products has resulted in the most efficient distribution system available locally with orders being delivered daily (excluding Sundays), starting at 3.00am, resulting in minimal stocking quantities having to be held by customers.

 

This philosophy of supply has been extended to the newer products supplied by Dunkley's and as a result Dunkley's has built a reputation amongst its customers for the best quality service available.

 

Marketing

Dunkley's aggressively markets all of the products that we represent in Bermuda and, with the continued support of our suppliers, we strive to continually increase both sales and market share island wide.

 

We promote products locally via newsprint, TV, radio & online. Taste testings held in local supermarkets and sponsorship of local sporting & charity events provide exposure to a broad cross section of the community. As an additional incentive to consumers, promotional prices are frequently offered to increase awareness of new and established products.

 

We believe in building and growing relationships. All key accounts are visited at least twice a week by Dunkleys merchandisers. Additionally, convenience stores and pharmacies are visited at least once a week.

 

A key advantage in today's fast paced trends, Dunkley's has its own in-house marketing and design team utilizing the latest design software and equipment. Strict adherence to logo, colour and product guidelines coupled with agency quality production ensures products are shown to their best advantage.

 

Contacts:

Libby Cook-Toppan (Marketing Manager, Beverages & FritoLay)

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Suzann Roberts-Holshouser (Marketing & Promotions Manager)

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Paul Spring(Special Events Manager)

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Logistics

Dunkley's has several supply routes in operation from the US. Full 20' containers are shipped out of Salem, New Jersey, The Bronx and Fernandina Beach, Florida with port consolidation points and in Pennsylvania and Virginia.

 

In Bermuda, Dunkley's has extensive dry, chill and freezer warehouse facilities which have recently been expanded to provide capacity for increased volume and anticipated future growth. Dunkley's has it's own fleet of chilled and dry trucks for distribution operating island wide six days a week. Additionally we have a network of 100 milk dispensers, 150 beverage coolers and 250 vending machines selling both drinks and snacks.

 

Premises, trucks and coolers are maintained to a high standard as Dunkley's has its own maintenance departments for freezer, chill rooms, coolers and truck fleet.

 

Warehousing

Our centrally located processing plant, warehouse and offices are more than adequate to handle our existing product lines and much more.

Our warehouse operations are well staffed, currently handling the unloading of 25-30 containers per week.

 

Finance & Accounting

Dunkleys Dairy operates as a limited company and is audited annually. Financially very strong, with no debt and good cash flow, Dunkley's has a policy of paying overseas vendors promptly upon receipt of goods with payment being made in the week of delivery of goods.

 

Our computer systems are continually updated with inventory control and order entry fully integrated. Sales are analysed by product and customer over many periods providing total product line control and facilitating increased sales. Our accounting function is well set up to handle any additional volume in accounts payable, costing and customs clearance.

 

Future Growth Plans

Dunkley's is actively searching for new products in the food sector. We are seeking to expand in a controlled manner ensuring that any new lines that we take on are fully represented without conflict with existing lines.

 

Sales

Contact our Brand Managers & Sales Executives:

 

Kyle Dailey Sales Manager

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Steven Shorter Sales Executive

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George Boyles Pedigree, Whiskas & Cesar

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John O'Doherty Bakery & Meats

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Jason 'Skuzzie' North Dairy

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Bryon Sheppard Produce

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Paul Spring Pepsico (beverages)

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Marie Symonds Fresh Fish

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Promotions

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