Valley Distributors, Inc.
A view of Valley Distributors' newly remodeled facility in Oakland, Maine
Valley Distributors, Inc. is proud to be a family-owned and -operated business dating back to 1974. The company was originally founded by Bernard “Buck” Runser with a distribution facility in Waterville, Maine and served only two Anheuser-Busch products, Budweiser and Michelob. For more than 40 years, the distributor has expanded its variety of products and grown the business, highlighted by the recent completion of a multi-million dollar expansion project at their current facility in Oakland, Maine.
Just a few years after Valley Distributors put their first truck on the road, the company grew quickly. By the late 1970s, management added more employees and expanded their product list to include Anheuser-Busch brands such as Busch, Natural Light and Michelob Light.
While the company started under the leadership of Bernard Runser, his son Michael grew up in the family business, as well. Michael learned the business in hopes to one day carry on the family legacy. Michael worked part time in all of Valley Distributor's departments while attending high school and during his college years at the University of New Hampshire.
With business booming, the company moved their facilities in 1980 to their current location on the Belgrade Road in Oakland, Maine. From this facility, the company is able to more efficiently serve Kennebec, Somerset, Waldo, Piscataquis and parts of Sagadahoc and Lincoln counties.
In 1982, Budweiser Light was introduced and was later renamed Bud Light. Today, Bud Light is America’s and Central Maine’s favorite beer.
By 1984, Michael Runser was working full time in the sales department as a merchandiser and eventually worked his way up to sales manager. In 2001, he became president of Valley Distributors and Bernard Runser moved to his current position of CEO.
In the mid 80's, Controlled Environment Warehousing was added to the distribution center to ensure that consumers would receive the freshest beer possible.
During the 1990’s, numerous products were introduced such as Bud Ice, Bud Ice Light, Bud Dry, Busch N/A, O’Doul’s, Natural Ice and many others. Today, Anheuser-Busch products represent about 60% of the beer sold in Central Maine. In addition to ABInBev, Valley Distributors delivers a variety of local craft beers and a large variety of nonalcoholic products. Valley Distributors' portfolio also includes Maine products such as Belfast Bay, Black Bear Brewing, Eli’s Soda, Maine Root, Green Bee and Black Bear Energy.
In 2000, Anheuser-Busch named Valley Distributors the New England Wholesaler of the Year. Over the last ten years, Valley has continued to live up to the high expectations by increasing their volume and portfolio on a consistent basis.
More recognition came for the company in 2009 when Valley Distributors was featured in the August edition of “Beverage World” as one of the most up-and-coming distributors in Maine.
Most recently, Valley has picked up new craft brew products, expanded capacity in the flavored malt beverage category and made substantial gains in their non-alcoholic business. Part of the growth has been a result of the growing popularity of such brands as Monster Energy, Cadbury, Polar, Snapple, AriZona, Nesquik, Poland Spring, Sparkling Ice and many others.
As part of its responsibility campaign, Valley Distributors has sponsored many speakers over the years at our local high schools and colleges reaching thousands of students. Some of those speakers include; Barbara Baab, Michael Chatman, Bob Anastas, Sarah Panzau, Julia Clukey and Linda Dutil. Each speaker has their own message about making good choices and leave a lasting impression with local youth in the community.
Employees at Valley Distributors volunteer their time to participate in community organizations such as the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, the Alfond Youth Center, the Central Maine Growth Council and many local sports organizations to name a few.
Valley also makes charitable donations to the community on a regular basis including:
In addition to Valley's local contributions, Anheuser-Busch and the Anheuser-Busch Foundation have established a legacy of giving back through charitable donations and corporate sponsorships. Since 1997, the company and charitable foundation have contributed more than $500 million to charitable organizations, including those that support education, the environment, economic development, disaster preparedness/relief and support of those who serve our country.
Working for Valley Distributors
In today's world, being part of a family-owned and -operated business is a unique opportunity. The employees at Valley Distributors are hard-working men and women that are passionate about their jobs.
“We try to create a positive work environment where our employees enjoy coming into work every day—making sure we are compensating people fairly and providing good benefits,” says Michael Runser, president of Valley Distributors.
This commitment from management has made employees proud to be part of the company and share in its success. More than 30% of Valley’s employees have been working at the company for more than 10 years.
For more than 40 years, Valley Distributors has provided great jobs and benefits for its employees. The company goes beyond providing a paycheck and works to improve the lives and well-being of their associates. Every October, Valley Distributors celebrates their annual Safety and Wellness Day. Awards are presented for achievement of yearly objectives at that time.
In April of 2010, Maine Governor John Baldacci honored Valley Distributors, Inc. along with nine other groups of businesses and individuals for their fitness achievements at the 2010 Maine Fitness Awards. Valley Distributors was selected by the Maine Governor’s Council of Physical Activity as winner of the 2010 Maine Fitness Award in Healthy Workplace, Small Business Category.
In April of 2013, Valley received an award in wellness from the Healthy People of the Kennebec Valley. This award recognizes businesses in the greater Kennebec Valley which are committed to improving the health and well-being of their employees based on eight worksite health and wellness criteria.
In June of 2013, Valley was presented the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Award (SHARP) from the Maine Commissioner of Labor; Jeanne Paquette. This award is given to businesses who are recognized as models for worksite safety and health standards. In the United States there are less than 2,000 worksites who have earned SHARP certification.
A part of the company's ongoing plans include their commitment to protecting the environment. Valley Distributors has installed low energy efficient lighting, heating and cooling systems in their newly remodeled facility. The company also recycles aluminum at their facility helping keep Maine roadsides clean and litter free.
In the years ahead, Valley Distributors plans to continue to grow their business with a commitment to quality service and products and to be a respected corporate citizen. To learn more, visit www.valley-dist.com.