While Mikesells’ got its start on two wheels, eventually, Ford Model “T” panel delivery trucks replaced Daniel W. Mikesell’s trusty bicycle. Those trucks likely comprised the first commercial delivery fleet in Dayton. Today, Mikesell’s maintains a strong regional distribution across Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois.
“We distribute across most of Ohio. We are also in most of Indiana, as well as pretty much the entire state of Kentucky. That’s our core footprint,” says Mapp. “We do some business in central Illinois, and then we do some direct shipping throughout the year to customers who buy a product from us in large quantities and distribute it throughout their stores. We also do some international business. We have a broker that sells a lot of our products over in Asia.”
Grocery stores represent core product volume for Mikesell’s. “The big three for us are Kroger, Walmart, and Meijer. That’s where the majority of the volume is moving. Club stores like Costco are also important to us. In c-stores, we do a great job with Speedway and some other chains.”
Of course, independents factor into the business model for the family-run company. “I always like to call out Dorothy Lane Market,” says Mapp. “They only have three stores here in Dayton, but they have been great partners for us through the years, and they are so well-known across the U.S.”
Mapp notes that Mikesell’s continues to fine-tune its distribution network, with an emphasis on establishing more company routes. “We are trying to take back control over our distribution model. And sometimes it is a tradeoff. There is an expense to owning the truck, the gas, and the maintenance, as well as the responsibility for the driver and all associated costs. The question is how well you want to be able to service your customers versus how much you want to pay for it. We have to get to the right break-even point.”
In early 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic descended upon the U.S., questions about food security prompted a surge in retail sales across the nation, seriously challenging snack production and distribution networks. But Mikesell’s passed through those troubled waters with flying colors.