Westchester's Hudson Milk COO Tom Rubino Answers Our Questions
The Shrub Oak-based company is one of our Small Business Award winners.
What has business been like for Hudson Milk over the past year?
Rubino: Business has been great! We are continuing to grow, we've added new delivery routes, hired new employees, and put new trucks on the road. Our customers have always said that we are one of Westchester's best-kept secrets, but the word is starting to spread.
Has being chosen as one of 914INC’s Small Business Awards winners had any impact?
Rubino: Being one of the Small Business Award winners was an absolute honor and thrill for us, we definitely heard the congratulations from our customers and have acquired some new business from the exposure.
What are the key challenges facing small businesses like yours here in Westchester?
Rubino: Some challenge for us are marketing and social media, hiring and staffing. One unique challenge for us doing business in Westchester: when we deliver we are on the road in commercial vehicles, which of course we can't take on those pesky parkways! Westchester was designed to get around using the parkways, so it takes us a bit longer to get around using the commercial routes.
Do you feel that Westchester is a supportive community for small businesses?
Rubino: We are proud to be part of a thriving and diverse group of small businesses in Northern Westchester. We feel that we are a testament to Westchester being supportive of small mom-and-pop businesses. We plan on taking advantage of some of the county initiatives and incentives in the coming year.
What are some of your favorite Westchester small businesses?
Rubino: Some of our favorites in no particular order are, The Peekskill Coffee House, Dance For Joy, Augie's Prime Cut, and Cork NY. Our absolute favorite nonprofit organization is Community Capital. They are a fantastic microlender who offer their clients many services, training, and professional development. Kim Jacobs and Holly Perlowitz stand behind their investments and really care about the people and small businesses that they serve. To The Full Article.
Hudson Milk: Westchester’s Award-Winning Milkmen
An old-fashioned Shrub Oak company worthy of one of our “General Excellence” awards.
Tom and Therese Rubino started their business with only a dozen customers in 1994, after falling into an opportunity that just seemed to fit them. “We started to have grandkids, and we were concerned with where food was coming from, and I ended up hearing about a milkman who I thought was selling his truck,” Tom recalls. After Tom had a discussion with the milkman, who turned out to be retiring, and heard about his dozen-or-so customers, he says, “I kind of started a business, although we didn’t end up getting the truck.” Nineteen years and lots of word-of-mouth by fiercely loyal customers later, the Yorktown couple has turned Hudson Milk into a booming home-delivery business that serves about 1,000 customers.
The Rubinos modeled Hudson Milk in part after the butcher shop that Tom’s father ran in Manhattan. “We’ve always kept it as a mom-and-pop operation,” Tom says. “That was very important to us—that commitment to a personalized, old-fashioned type of model from when I grew up.”
Operating out of Shrub Oak, the Yorktown hamlet where the Rubinos raised their family, Hudson Milk has three trucks on the road and employs six people. The company, which originally delivered just milk in glass bottles, started delivering a host of other dairy products, such as butter, cheese, and yogurt, in 2000. After Tom had back surgery in 2006 and couldn’t make deliveries, “I was kind of forced to hire someone to help out.” So with a new driver on the road, Tom and his wife were able to focus more on growing the customer base and sourcing new products. As a result, in 2008, locally sourced meat, poultry, and frozen vegetables began making their way onto the list of Hudson Milk’s deliverables. To The Full Article.
Bon Appétit Magazine
“The Return of the Milkman”
We’ve noticed a lot of milk mustaches coupled with smiles around our neighborhood lately, and we’ve tracked down the cause: home milk delivery. The old-fashioned service is making a comeback for reasons that are both personal (devotees say glass bottles impart a better taste, and you can opt for “cream on top” rather than homogenized) and political (supporting small-scale dairies is good for the local economy and the environment). And for a price that’s only slightly higher than store-bought organic milk, the service gives consumers their calcium with convenience. Businesses range from the large (Oberweis Dairy in Aurora, Illinois, serves more than 30,000 homes in Chicago, Detroit, and beyond) to the mom-and-pop (The Hudson Milk Company in Westchester County, New York, delivers to 500 households). There’s no central national clearinghouse, but many milk-delivery services are just a Web search away. To The Full Article
The New York Times
February 4, 2007
“Return of the Milkman”
When I bought my current home several years ago, there was one little detail that really caught my imagination: a small metal door on the side of the house, off the kitchen. It took a while, but I finally figured out it was a “milk door,” harking back to the days when fresh milk was regularly delivered right to one’s home.
For residents of northern Westchester (the Tarrytown-Pleasantville line and above) and Putnam, there is no need to fantasize about years gone by. The Hudson Milk Company delivers milk from New York state farms — made without growth hormones, antibiotics or pesticides — straight to one’s doorstep in reusable glass bottles. Since the service began, with one truck and six customers 13 years ago, the line of products has expanded to include yogurt, eggs, cheeses, butter and even orange juice. Hudson Milk, based in Shrub Oak, now services about 300 homes.
Tom and Therese Rubino, the owners, have keyed into the growing demand for local, less processed products. “People like dealing with locals,” Mr. Rubino said. “They like the sense of community and knowing where their food is coming from.” With Hudson Milk, Mr. Rubino, 59, wanted to re-create the atmosphere he remembered from his dad’s butcher shop in the Inwood neighborhood of Upper Manhattan. “He knew all his customers and they knew him,” Mr. Rubino said. “They trusted him.”
Hudson Milk’s offerings cost about the same as organic supermarket products ($4.39 for a half gallon of milk, $2.33 for a dozen eggs, $3.99 a pound for butter) and the delivery charge is a low $2 a week. Best of all is the taste. The chocolate milk has a rich, delicious, almost malted flavor.
The whole milk is a creamy, sweet revelation. To The Full Article.
The Wall Street Journal
May 15, 2007
“Small Dairies Profit From a Resurgence Of Home Deliveries” - Returning to your doorstep: the milkman.
As American consumers rush toward healthier, home-grown foods, the old-fashioned trade of home milk delivery is making a comeback in pockets around the country. And that appetite for wholesome fare, coupled with rising gas prices, is giving an unexpected marketing boost to some tiny dairies and local milk distributors, helping them compete against larger rivals who saturate store shelves…
In 1994, Tom Rubino opened a delivery service called Hudson Milk Co. in Shrub Oak, N.Y. Today, his operation reaches many homes. His biggest seller is the nostalgic half-gallon glass bottle of milk that Mr. Rubino gets from upstate New York.
Older customers remember the glass bottles fondly and want convenience, Mr. Rubino says, while younger families are more interested in buying locally and making sure their foods don't have unnecessary additives or hormones. "We were lucky and got on a particular trend at the right time," he says. To The Full Article.