1942 two brothers, Lem and Aubrey Morrison, saw an opportunity to purchase a
milk receiving facility in Greensboro, Alabama.
The brothers realized the need for a local facility where area farmers
could deliver their raw milk for distribution to dairy processors.
They named the operation “Morrison Brothers” and purchased it for a
price of four thousand dollars. The
Morrison Brothers operation received Grade A milk for distribution to bottling
plants in Mobile, Birmingham, and Montgomery.
The brothers continued to seek out new dairy processing facilities where their
milk could be sold.
In 1946 the brothers established a cheese plant in Greensboro and named
it Blackbelt Creamery. The plant
produced cheddar cheese, which was sold to the Kraft Cheese Company.
The facility employed twelve people and produced nine thousand pounds of
cheese per month. By 1949 it
employed twenty people and produced forty thousand pounds per month.
In 1953 Blackbelt Creamery stopped producing cheese and began processing
cottage cheese, sour cream, onion dip, and yogurt.
competition rapidly increased, the brothers realized that their competition
owned bottling facilities that purchased their milk.
They further realized that milk in south Alabama was in short supply as
opposed to the northern part of the state were milk was plentiful. The southern
part of the state also had several large military facilities, which posed an
opportunity for growth. Lem
Morrison had previously served as a military procurement officer in WWII and
knew how to obtain military contracts.
The brothers purchased Dixie Dairies in Mobile, Alabama for two hundred and
fifty thousand dollars in 1949. To
raise the money, they called together over forty dairy farmers and persuaded
them to help purchase the facility.
The farmers realized that the processing facility would be a constant outlet
for their Grade A milk supply. An additional one hundred thousand dollars was
borrowed to upgrade the facility and their first processing facility was in
this time Morrison Brothers had a large dairy farming operation that supplied
milk to the Dixie Dairies plant. William
L “Fuzzy” York was hired to run the farming operation after earning an
engineering degree from Mississippi State and moving to Greensboro in 1948.
In the early 1950’s Bobby E. Tidmore, a graduate of Auburn University,
was hired to manage the Mobile production facility.
this time, the phrase “best in the land” was adopted as the Company’s slogan
and has remained ever since. The
slogan reflects the Company’s high standard of quality and customer service,
which has been a cornerstone of operations from then to now.
1950 a competitor in Mobile was ready to sell their operation.
An excellent opportunity for expansion presented itself and the brothers
purchased Dairy Fresh for fifty-five thousand dollars.
The Dairy Fresh brand name was well known in the area and had great
marketing potential in other areas.
Furthermore, the Dairy Fresh operation had established “milk routes” and a good
customer base. The Dairy Fresh facility increased sales to the civilian
population. To this point, over
fifty percent of the milk processed and sold through Dixie Dairies was to
military facilities. Dixie
Dairies, Blackbelt Creamery, and Dairy Fresh were consolidated in 1951 to
become Dairy Fresh Corporation.
the early 1960’s an ice cream company in Greensboro decided to sell their
operation. The owner of Jay’s Ice
Cream Company approached Lem and Aubrey Morrison with an offer to sale.
The brothers decided that they could produce the ice cream in Greensboro
for distribution in their other operations.
The ice cream plant was purchased and Dairy Fresh Ice Cream Company was born.
About 1961 another key individual was added to the management team.
Erwin Burt, a dairy science graduate of Mississippi State, was hired
from Sealtest in Birmingham to manage the new ice cream Company.
Today the Ice Cream Company is operated with Tommy Stewart as General
Manager and produces over 1.5 million gallons annually.
to the declining health of Aubrey Morrison, Lem purchased his brother’s
interest in the business in 1966. However, many other members of the Morrison
family became involved with the business during the early sixties.
Two of Aubrey’s daughters, Betty and Ann had started actively working
for Dairy Fresh as well as their husbands, Robert Gist and Lenson Montz.
Later another daughter, Mary Jane and a granddaughter, Anna Lynn, joined
the business. Also during this
time, Bobby Tidmore’s wife Sue joined the business as a quality control
specialist and later their children, Mike, Sonya, and Don, son-in-law, John
Schilling, and grandsons Gabriel and Joshua became active employees.
Fuzzy York’s son, Jimbo, came on board to work with the Morrison
Brothers farm operation. Through
the years, other children of the original management team have joined the
Company. Erwin Burt’s son Larry
serves as the Company’s Safety Director.
1967 and 1968 Dairy Fresh purchased Sanitary Dairy in Dothan, Alabama,
Covington Creamery in Andalusia, Alabama, and Pascal’s Dairy in Enterprise,
Alabama. In 1973 Dairy Fresh
purchased Gray-Mar Farms in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and in 1980 purchased
Brookshire Dairy in Meridian, Mississippi.
In 1986 they purchased Dairy Fresh of Louisiana in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Dairy Fresh Corporation has approximately 700 employees located in Alabama,
Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana where Dairy Fresh products are
sold. The Corporation’s
headquarters is located in Greensboro, Alabama, where it was founded.
Dairy Fresh in the only independently owned milk processing company in
Alabama, procuring raw milk supplies from 190 dairymen and 2 milk cooperatives.
The Company remains a significant milk processor in the Southeast with
annual sales in excess of 200 million dollars.
the two brothers that founded Dairy Fresh Corporation have since passed away.
The Company’s continued success can be attributed to its outstanding workforce
lead by a management team that has been with the Company for most of their