Blount Fine Foods
Apr15

NEWSCLIP: Blount creates a legacy with strategy, stewardship

Providence Business News recognizes Todd Blount's strategic leadership

By Taryn Plumb
Contributing Writer
Providence Business News

THE ESSENCE OF LEADERSHIP is multifold – it involves strategic movements and investments, calculated risk-taking, and thoughtful delegation, as well as the ability to inspire a genuine confidence and respect among the crucial ranks which keep the business engine humming.

Since taking over his family’s Blount Fine Foods Corp. 15 years ago, Todd Blount has exhibited all of these characteristics. Amidst an erratic economy that decimated many other businesses, he had the vision and motivation to transform his Fall River-headquartered company and set it on a path of continued significant success.

“Todd has displayed a relentless devotion to innovation and product development, ensuring that company management reflects a priority to stay relevant in the marketplace,” said Thomas N. Forsythe of DiSanto Priest & Co., Blount’s accountant of record.

Blount Fine Foods started out in the 1880s as a simple family oyster company that eventually evolved into a shellfish supplier and processor. It has since moved far beyond seafood, transforming into a manufacturer of specialty soups and prepared foods. President and CEO, Blount has been the key architect of this shift, demonstrating his strengths in embracing and managing change, and remaining endlessly proactive in response to the economy and the marketplace.

Under his leadership, the company has expanded into the manufacture of refrigerated and frozen gourmet soups, sauces, dips, spreads, side dishes and entrees. These are sold under Blount, Legal Sea Foods and Panera Bread labels, as well as individual store brands. Blount also makes custom soup for national restaurant chains based on their secret in-house recipes, and has recently expanded into hot-to-go soups for large and small supermarket chains.

Identifying that the company’s future success could only come from product diversification, Blount began to implement a vision to reorient it upon taking over the reins from his father in 2000. The first batches of soups and chilis were cooked up in 2001 at the company’s waterfront facility in Warren, and Blount’s vision was further bolstered by the acquisitions of Great Soups Inc., Neco Foods and Cape Cod Chowder. The renaming of the company in 2009 from Blount Seafood Corp. to Blount Fine Foods cemented the shift.

Between 2011 and 2014, sales jumped from $114 million to $181 million. And over the past decade, sales of soup and all other foods have far eclipsed the company’s clam sales by tens of millions of dollars.

“This transformation is nothing short of remarkable, not simply because of the strength and talent it took to boldly proclaim this vision, but to take the practical steps to make this vision a reality,” said Forsythe.

But even though its focus has changed, Blount still retains a dominant foothold in the seafood industry: It is the largest manufacturer of lobster bisque in the country, and the largest producer of clam chowder in New England.

Forsythe attributed the successful reorientation to a collaborative philosophy within the company that begins at the top, and the company leader’s ability to practically evaluate new markets, underserved markets, or markets that might not currently exist.

Blount himself agreed, calling reinvestments timely and advantageous, and said the company will continue to invest in sides, appetizers and entrées.

Blount Fine Foods’ success is also boosted by its commitment to the community and the well-being of its roughly 400 employees.

Through a company-sponsored training and education program established by Blount, employees can earn internal certifications, high school equivalency certifi- cates and even college degrees. There is also an employee assistance program available for team members suffering through hardships.

Blount is humble about his success, attributing it to his delegation of key tasks to essential team members, specifically in sales and operations.

“I am a steward, plain and simply,” he said. “My family has built a wonderful business over five generations, and I honor that legacy by continuing to improve Blount Fine Foods.”

Shared from April 2015 supplement to Providence Business News.  See the original here.