SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The U.S. Small Business Administration has selected Chobani, Inc., maker of Chobani Greek Yogurt based in New Berlin, N.Y., as the national winner of the 2012 Entrepreneurial Success of the Year Award. Nominated by KeyBank, N.A., Chobani was chosen for the award based on its dramatic growth in sales, employees and business size as well as charitable contributions.
The yogurt maker began in the rolling hills of upstate New York using an SBA 504 loan to purchase a closed Kraft Foods plant. Chobani started with five employees and a yogurt product sold to a single grocery store. Today, Chobani is the top selling yogurt in the United States, shipping 1.7 million cases of its distinctive tasting yogurt weekly to grocery and shopper club stores nationwide.
In 2011, Chobani expanded operations abroad in Australia and Canada. The company now employs over 1,200 and plans to hire an additional 400 when its Idaho facility opens later this year. The 900,000-square-foot high-efficiency facility in Twin Falls, Idaho, will be the largest yogurt plant in the county.
As part of Chobani’s ‘Nothing But Good’ philosophy, the company is committed to supporting local farmers and strengthening economic growth in the communities where it is located. Chobani gives a portion of its annual profits to charities worldwide through its Shepherd’s Gift Foundation, the company’s charitable arm.
Chobani’s founder, president, and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya, will receive the Syracuse District and Regional awards at SBA’s annual awards luncheon on May 2 at The Desmond Hotel in Albany. Ulukaya will receive the national award at SBA’s National Small Business Week celebration on May 22 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel & Conference Center in Washington, D.C.
# # #