Hamilton, Bermuda. August 27th 2018 — Today Butterfield & Vallis mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of their family run wholesale food business. On this occasion, the company announces that it will move into a second century in business with a fourth generation at the helm. Spencer Butterfield has been named CEO of the company, the position previously held by his father, Jim Butterfield. Jim led the company since the 1980s, and will retain the position of Chairman of the Board.
100 years ago today, the founder H. St. George Butterfield signed his first trade agreement to supply Peek Freans biscuits to the Bermuda market in 1918. From modest beginnings and a solitary employee, Butterfield & Vallis has grown to be the largest food wholesaler in Bermuda with a staff of over 200, three divisions, 48 trucks, and two warehouses at Orange Valley and Woodlands Road, representing innumerable product lines and in excess of 13,600 SKUS across a complete product range including dry, chill, frozen and produce.
Through the years the company has overcome a significant change in business, with each generation. In the early 1900s, H. St. George negotiated trade agreements for a tiny island struggling for relevance and survival after the first and then second World Wars. His modest trade blossomed when the business was taken over by a second generation in 1946, his son Dudley Butterfield. Dudley grew the company from Front Street into its first large premises on East Broadway and through the modernization of the business into containerization.
When a fire gutted the East Broadway warehouse in 1982 the company was at a crossroads, and Dudley considered closure. The company was committed to serving the community and the future of its staff, however, and found a way to keep the company running while managing the monumental setback of the fire, and considerations for the future. Ultimately loyalty to family and the community won out and Dudley agreed to sell the company to two of his sons, George and Jim Butterfield.
George and Jim made the decision to move the company to Orange Valley and build a new warehouse from scratch, a decision that was a tremendous risk and financial burden but paved the way for future expansion. George Butterfield managed the broader view of the company as he was based in Canada, and Jim became the man on the ground in charge of operations. Through the years the company grew in measured stages, building onto the warehouse as the business grew and Bermuda flourished. When the economy wavered and competition became fierce in the 1990s, the company acquired J.S. Vallis & Co. in 1993 becoming Butterfield & Vallis. In 1998 the company went on to acquire competitor, Winter-Cookson, Petty, followed by a number of other smaller distributors in the following two decades. These acquisitions created economies of scale; the company’s continual investment in technology created efficiency; both of these results benefited the end cost to the local consumer. These developments, strong leadership and core staff built Butterfield & Company into the market leader Butterfield & Vallis we know today.
Jim’s son Spencer Butterfield joined the company in 2007 after successfully running his own business in Florida. The same year Jim bought out his brother, George Butterfield’s interest in the company. Spencer grew through the years from Vice President of Consumer Products at Orange Valley, to take on the position of Chief Operating Officer in 2010, under his father as CEO.
Today’s announcement that Spencer will succeed his father, Jim, as CEO, comes at an exciting time for the company. In his decade at the company Spencer has weathered the aftermath of the recent global economic crisis, in a cost heavy business, by revamping the systems and efficiencies of the business. He has led advances in technology and environmental sustainability, and the professionalization of the company workforce. Headed into this new era for the business the company epitomizes their slogan, “Distribution with a difference.” For the staff and management of Butterfield & Vallis the true milestone of the 100th anniversary is the innovations the company has pioneered to provide exceptional service including an online ordering platform, a night shift, and continued advancements in technology and customer service.
Spencer says of his appointment to CEO, “I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to join such a spectacular team of people who are dedicated to serving our customers with some of the world’s strongest Global brands and innovative food solutions. I have had great mentors who have helped prepare me to lead our team and ensure the standard set by my Dad, uncle, Grandfather, and great Grandfather is upheld and we continue to enhance our product selection and service. I’m thankful for the support of our supplier partners and the loyalty of our customers and I’m honored to be a part of this wonderful team.” Jim Butterfield adds, “I’m proud and excited that in our 100th year of business the baton will be passed on to Spencer who is well equipped to lead our wonderful team of staff and I look forward to witnessing the continuation of top quality service to our customers into our second century.”
The company is marking their centennial with a gift to every staff member of two $100 vouchers, one to the grocery store of their choice, and another to the restaurant of their choice. In recognition of the community the company serves and building on their already substantial philanthropy, the company is donating $100 thousand dollars split between 6 local charities. They also have launched a company wide drive to donate 100 pints of blood, 100 hours of employee time to community service efforts, and also donated 100 tins of soup to local soup kitchens.and causes across Bermuda. The organizations include: KBB, The National Trust, Salvation Army, Windreach, SPCA, Bermuda Aquarium Museum & Zoo, Cedar Tree Vets, and several rest homes and nurseries. Butterfield & Vallis want their centenary year to be an opportunity to give back to their employees, customers, and the larger Bermuda community.
As the food business rapidly evolves in an increasingly global world, Butterfield & Vallis will continue to set high standards in business but never forget their role as a community leader and foremost a local employer. The company and employees look forward to a future of challenges, innovations, and many more milestones, in their mission of delivering superior customer service and global brands to the local community.
On Tuesday August 28th Butterfield & Vallis will be closing at 3pm for all staff to conduct voluntary work with charities