Growing a Family-Owned Farm Business

Seth Bahler,

The Modern Milkman

August 30, 2021 - Ellington, CT

The Modern Milkman came to CTSBDC looking for assistance growing their fresh farm delivery service. Through the counselling they received, The Modern Milkman has reached a bigger market in CT and is now expanding into other states as well.

capital accessed

Capital Accessed

$150,000 EIDL Loan

$300,000 PPP Loan through AgCountry Farm Credit Services

CTSBDC & The Modern Milkman: A Success Story

Owner: Seth Bahler

Business Start Date: November 2018

What Does Your Business Do?

The Modern Milkman is a direct to consumer farm-fresh delivery service. As a subsidiary of Oak Ridge Dairy, The Modern Milkman provides fresh milk and other products directly to customers' homes.

What Inspired You to Start Your Business?

With Oak Ridge Dairy being a commodity business, there was a lot of fluctuation with the market. Seth started The Modern Milkman in order to be able to control market price and get more involved with his community.

Before Coming to the CTSBDC, What Were Your Primary Challenges and/or Needs?

The Modern Milkman was doing well but they were looking to grow the business; they looking for help with marketing efforts to reach new customers. After an employee found SBDC through an online search, they reached out to begin strategizing growth strategies/

How has the CTSBDC helped you overcome your challenges?

Shelly has helped us with budgets and networking ideas. She has opened up our thoughts to different marketing techniques and helped make connections to UConn.

Additionally, she has helped with COVID counselling – providing guidance with applying for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

What 2-3 things have you learned or changed since working with CTSBDC?

CTSBDC has helped us build our a network through UConn and other avenues.

Shelly also helped us separate Oak Ridge Dairy and Modern Milkman so that both businesses would be able to flourish.

Did you work with CTSBDC for COVID-19 advising/funding? If yes, please explain.

Yes, The Modern Milkman received a $350,000 Paycheck Protection Program loan and Oak Ridge Dairy received a $150,000 EIDL loan.

How is your business doing now? What does your future look like?

When COVID-19 hit, The Modern Milkman saw a sharp increase in demand for delivery services. Their customer base has expanded to new towns and they have started offering other  fresh products from other businesses as part of their delivery services.

They have been working with business partners and licensed Modern Milkman in Ohio. It is a pilot program that they are working to expand the model to other markets. This delivery method has been such a success that they are looking to perhaps franchise in the future.

What was it like working with your advisor?

Shelly was hands-on and even came out to the farm to share concepts and research for our business. She helped us look at benchmarks for the business to help determine the best way to grow our business.

What words of advice would you give to small businesses looking to work with CTSBDC?

SBDC offered a great opportunity to learn and collaborate. It helped me learn what opportunities are out there and get insights into industry.

Learn more about The Modern Milkman: