Minnesota-based Mann Lake Ltd. is a leader in the beekeeping industry, serving commercial beekeeping businesses and backyard hobbyists alike. The company specializes in quality manufacturing, innovation, customer service, and global ESG (environmental, social, governance) matters. “Bees pollinate one in every three bites of food that humans consume,” Mann Lake CFO Shana Rowlette explains. “Colony collapse is a real thing, and we’re very involved in helping our industry to address this risk.”Read More
Her company’s unique realm and rapid growth quickly nudged Rowlette beyond the traditional bounds of the staff accounting role that she filled when she joined the company. “I started with payables, receivables, and inventory but steadily took on more responsibilities that showed me how everything functioned as our company grew,” she notes. “It’s been 11 years, and I haven’t had a boring day yet.”
As controller, Rowlette helped to shepherd the company’s purchase by a private equity (PE) firm. She educated her PE partners in the nuances of the industry’s pollination seasonality and weather-related risks while collaborating on acquisition targets to fuel further growth. This work resulted in Mann Lake’s acquisition of Stromberg’s Chicks & Game Birds. “Our ultimate goal is to become the one-stop shop for everything related to backyard hobbies,” says Rowlette.
Next year, Rowlette will play a key role in a major employee-engagement initiative in addition to helping to drive growth. “The fast pace in a rapidly growing company can be overwhelming at times,” she observes. “You have to take a deep breath each day and prioritize what’s most important to the company. I also have a really good relationship with my amazing team. I was given a great opportunity by my former CFO to rise from being a staff accountant up to being a CFO. So, I make sure that we give our staff the ability to take on more and more while learning about the entire business.”
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CFOTL: Tell us about Mann Lake … what does it do, and what are its offerings today?
Rowlette: Mann Lake is the world leader in the manufacturing and distribution of beekeeping supplies. We produce everything from the hives and the frame to the feed. We sell the equipment, the clothing, and the medications to everybody from the commercial market—the commercial beekeepers who are farmers and doing pollination, honey production, all this type of stuff—all the way down to the hobby beekeeper who may have one or two hives in their backyard.
We service all aspects of everything beekeeping-related. About 2 years ago, we partnered with Stromberg’s Chickens and got into the backyard poultry market, our end goal being to be a one-stop shop for everything backyard hobby–related. In our California facility, we also have a food-grade sugar manufacturing plant as well.Read More
Just about 3 years ago, we were bought by a private equity company. Really, we partnered with them to kick-start a lot of growth that we wanted to look at doing. We’ve done three different acquisitions now and then expanded our own facilities as well.
This year, one of our biggest priorities is our inventory management. With the pandemic and freight issues and port issues and it being expensive to ship things internationally, plus supply chain issues domestically, we’re putting a really big focus on our inventory terms. What are we investing our money in? Do we have the right inventory at the right locations at the right time? So, this will be a big focus for me over the next 12 months.
Mann Lake LTD | www.mannlakeltd.com | Hackensack, MN