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The Northeast Dairy Foods Association, Inc. (NDFA), a full-service dairy trade association representing dairy processors, manufacturers and distributors in the northeast United States, announced Sonbyrne Sales, Inc. as the first recipient of the Customer of the Year Award. to be awarded at the 2019 Northeast Dairy Convention being held at the Otesaga Resort in Cooperstown, NY from September 11-13, 2019.

The award was deigned to recognize the loyalty, leadership and supportive role customers play in the important and evolving customer partnership within the ever-changing, exciting and complex dairy processing, manufacturing and distribution industry doing business in the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Other criteria for selection purposes included community involvement, employee retention, marketing, promotion, sales and consumer nutrition.

Members of the Association nominated a food retailer or food service customers who demonstrate a vision for operational excellence as it pertains to the dairy food and beverage industry. Attributes that were considered but not limited to were; innovation, product introduction, promoting dairy products and the industry through marketing and advertising, involvement within the dairy industry, community relations, management planning and oversight, exceptional leadership, and commitment to improving accountability and success of their own operation and relationship with their vendor service product supplier.

Sonbyrne Sales, a family owned separate convenience store entity associated with Byrne Dairy Inc., has been in business since 1956, when they opened our first location in Central Square, NY, and operate approximately 60 locations throughout Central New York. Dairy products such as milk, butter, cheese and ice cream have always been a primary focus of the group. They have made a concerted effort to promote the dairy industry with a large offering of locally made Byrne Dairy, their primary and exclusive provider of dairy products. Sonbyrne differentiates themselves from their competition and the traditional convenience store by offering 6 doors of fluid milk and 6 doors of ice cream product and sell upwards of 10 times the amount of dairy as our local competitors between fluid milk, ice cream and yogurt products. Their stores also offer ice cream dipping stands at over 40 locations—where families enjoy our plentiful ice cream offerings all year round.

Sonbyrne is heavily involved in the local community by making donations of ice cream and milk for events and sponsor local youth sports teams. They also sponsor Syracuse, NY area WSYR News Channel 9’s Athlete of the Week—where the athlete of the week is offered a trophy and perhaps more importantly, a fresh Byrne Dairy Chocolate Milk. In addition to making milk and food donations, Sonbyrne staff and employees volunteer throughout the Central New York Community and donating to various charities.

As the greater Syracuse area has seen more Byrne Dairy stores being built, the company takes great pride in the local environment and utilize the most environmentally friendly building materials and most technologically advanced equipment when constructing new locations, and aim to enhance the local communities in which we are located without adversely affecting the environment or character of the neighborhoods.

Sonbyrne Sales employ over 800 people throughout upstate New York and offer a safe and friendly environment for employees to flourish as professionals and individuals.

“Our customers are our lifeblood and we aim to treat them like family,” said Mark Byrne, Chief Executive Officer of Sonbyrne Sales, Inc. “We offer the same quality dairy products that they have come to love over the years—particularly the Byrne Chocolate Milk and Byrne Dairy Ice Cream Cookiewich! We are truly honored to be the recipient of the Customer of the Year Award, and it is a remarkable attribute all that Sonbyrne was founded on, from the farms where we get our milk, to all of our hard working employees, our dedicated suppliers, and, most importantly, our customers.”

“Sonbyrne Sales is a true reflection of what the dairy industry is all about,” said Bruce Krupke, Executive Vice President of the Northeast Dairy Foods Association (NDFA), Inc. “They not only manufacture and distribute quality, great, delicious products, but care for their employees, the dairy industry as a whole and promoting dairy products, but they are also outstanding members of the community.”

Nominations were reviewed by a committee comprised by the Association and scored based on a member’s nomination to requested criteria. Sonbyrne Sales, Inc will be honored and officially presented with the Customer of the Year Award at the 2019 Northeast Dairy Convention on September 12th at the Otesaga Resort in Cooperstown, NY.

NDFA has members in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. Members represent all four federal class product companies including fluid milk processors, distributors, byproduct manufacturers, ice cream and yogurt plants and some dairy farm producers.