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Keith started at Clover in 1993. He has been there 24 years, although he says, “I sometimes still feel like a newbie.” He was hoping to be a route driver at the beginning but, as he explains, “Just to get an interview at Clover was quite an accomplishment.” He now works in finance.
Why has he stayed? “It’s the people I work with,” Keith says, and the culture at Clover is exceptional. In Keith’s opinion, this culture is the legacy of Gene Benedetti. “He was remarkable. Genuine. We weren’t simply employees. He treated us like family.”
Keith has always loved motorcycles. In his early days at Clover, Keith’s everyday ride was a Honda CBR 600 sport bike but one day he borrowed a friend’s Kawasaki ZX 12, the “Ninja”––a contender for the world’s fastest production motorcycle. Keith totaled the Ninja at high speed and nearly totaled himself. Gene visited Keith in the hospital and, knowing that there would be months upon months of therapy once he was released, Gene made a suggestion: “Keith”, he said. “Why don’t you use the pool at my house for your therapy?” And Keith did.
“That,” Keith recalls, “was just one example of Gene’s generosity, compassion, and consideration––for all of us.”
And when Keith tells people that he works for Clover, he laughs and says that he has happily heard it all before: “They love Clover milk. And Clover’s ice cream. They love Clover’s connection to the community. And, of course, the kids love Clo.”
When asked about Clover’s growth, Keith admits that he is sometimes wistful for the times Clover was smaller and all the employees worked in close proximity to each other. That was back then. When asked where he thought Clover would be in five years, he points out that it will be much bigger in LA, that Clover has the tools now to grow. Distribution, for example, has already increased, with availability in Safeway, Albertsons, and more.
“That’s all really good,” Keith says, “for Clover and for LA. There will be any number of good things from our growth. Probably the best of all will be that more people will love Clover.”