MULTI-GENERATIONAL FAMILY BUSINESS Westminster Cracker Company PDF Print E-mail
Covenantal Families


Following a doctor’s visit last month, Jon took me to lunch at Bristol’s for New England clam chowder, grouper, and lobster macaroni and cheese. This wonderful New Orleans style restaurant features fresh fish, often caught the day before it is placed on the plate. So it stands to reason that only the finest oyster cracker from New England would accompany their chowder. Stamped with the Old Cape Cod label, this authentic icon lives up to the company’s tradition of quality.

Named after a town in Massachusetts, Westminster Cracker Company began nearly 200 years ago. Although they no longer use the original wood ovens, they still use the original 1828 recipe, which makes them all natural in the truest sense. Packed with flavor, this crisp cracker contains nothing artificial because you just cannot improve on the best.

In contrast to its competitors, Westminster Cracker Company uses only seven simple ingredients: unbleached wheat flour, water, canola oil, all natural evaporated cane juice, salt, yeast, and baking soda. These simple ingredients combined with a double fermentation and slower baking process produce a crisp cracker that doesn’t get soggy.

The original building established in 1828 by Alfred Wyman still stands today as a testament to quality. In 1898 the Dawley family purchased the business. In the early 1980s Pillsbury purchased the business, only to be purchased back by descendants of the Dawley family in the late 1980s. Today it is owned by the cracker’s biggest fan, Jeffry M. Walters, co-founder of LaSalle Capital.

The chairman of the board says that those who run the company are quality fanatics: “Quality is critical, quality is how we define ourselves, so we will never do anything to change the quality of the product.” Because of their commitment to quality, they have recently doubled baking capacity and continue to grow even in this sluggish economy.

Although I am very thankful that Mr. Walters continues the tradition of quality, I wonder why the original family does not still own this great company. I probably will never know, but it grieves me nonetheless that this family was not able to keep their business.

Sadly, like faith and fortune, a family business can be lost in one generation, even after many faithful generations, if not handled properly. The key to success is faith in God, covenantal living, passing on the importance of continuing the family business, and multiplying so that there are plenty of descendants to help in the operation.

Certainly I can applaud this company for maintaining a commitment to quality, but my hope is that Mr. Walters has children and is training his children for taking over once he passes.