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Amy’s Kitchen is a family business… with every member of the family taking part. The company was started in 1987, when Amy was born. Her mom and dad, Rachel and Andy Berliner, carefully nurtured the company as well as the child, paying constant attention to every aspect of its day to day activities and providing the vision that has made Amy’s so successful.
Andy, who was born in Chicago and attended Purdue University, was formerly a large shareholder and President of Magic Mountain Herb Tea company, the first herbal tea widely distributed in supermarkets. Rachel was raised in a family who were eating and growing organic food in the 50’s, long before doing so was popular. Besides a life long orientation towards natural foods, Rachel also has an arts background, and serves as the company’s art director, overseeing all packaging design.
Andy and Rachel work as a team, discussing and dealing with every imaginable problem that a fast growing business faces. What they enjoy most, however, is the creation and development of new products… providing ideas and working closely with Amy’s chefs and product developers. They taste new products again and again until satisfied that the highest standards of taste and quality are being met. Rachel, who has a keen and sensitive palate, is the company’s official “taster.”
Andy provides overall leadership and helps formulate marketing and sales strategy. Locating Andy at Amy’s can be a challenge. Often he can be found in the kitchen doing what he loves the most: visiting with and working with the people who are carefully preparing the food. Both Andy and Rachel like to keep in touch with the needs and interests of the company’s more than 1,600 employees and with Amy’s customers. Rachel reads every letter written by customers.
Amy herself, is living in the UK working with Sales and Marketing. She is often found traveling around the UK, serving up samples at the many UK food and musical festivals.
Amy’s grandmothers have also played an important part in the building of Amy’s Kitchen. Her grandmother Clarice (Andy’s mother) hailed from Chicago where Andy was born. Clarice, who lived on her own until her death in February 2009 at the age of 96, helped grow the business in Chicago by talking to stores and urging them to stock Amy’s products when the company was just starting. Were it not for her purchase and subsequent lease to the company of one of the first pieces of equipment, the young company would not have been able meet the increasing demand for their products. Most importantly, having been an excellent cook herself, she instilled in Andy an appreciation for good cooking that has helped inspire his choice of products for Amy’s Kitchen. Clarice and her husband, Milt, also shared an innate facility with numbers, which they passed on to their son…a vital trait in any successful entrepreneur.
Rachel’s mother, Eleanor Goodman, has worn many “hats” in her career with Amy’s Kitchen, including product development, purchasing, telemarketing and even a brief and hilarious stint doing bookkeeping. She helped finance one of the first packaging machines that Amy’s used. At 80 years of age, Eleanor currently travels the world as an ambassador for Amy’s.
Eleanor currently is chief copywriter, which includes writing stories on the company’s boxes and web site copy. She also reads consumer letters, supervises their replies and serves on the Board of Directors.
Andy and Rachel’s nephew, Paul Schiefer, is the director of European Operations. He currently lives in the UK, where he helped to start the UK and European business and runs all of the Amy’s Kitchen operations overseas.
Rachel’s brother, Joel Humphries, supports Amy’s Kitchen by coordinating charitable events world wide.
Andy’s older brother Bill, who owned and ran Petaluma’s landmark restaurant Old Chicago Pizza, helped Andy develop the recipes for Amy’s Pizzas and he also helped locate sources for ingredients. Bill’s contributions to Amy’s will always be remembered. He passed away in January 2009.
And of course, besides the immediate family, Amy’s extended family also includes all the wonderful people who work for the company, and especially you, our customers, without whom there would be no Amy’s Kitchen.