90-Year-Old Pickle Company’s Success Story

While in college, Max Troyer worked at Sechler’s Pickles during the summer -- and today he owns the company.

In this Salute to American Success, we looked at the St. Joe, Indiana-based Sechler’s Pickles. The 90-year-old Sechler’s, known for its sweet pickles, retails in about 40 states but does most of its business in the Great Lakes states. The company was family-owned until 8 years ago, when Troyer purchased the business.

“I grew up about 5 miles from the factory here and worked for them one summer in college,” Troyer said. “I went to work out of college for Heinz for a few years, then for a regional pickle processor for a few years and came back as general manager. The Sechlers stopped being involved, and I bought it from them.”

Today, Troyer said he’s focused on exploring new opportunities for the business. Since he took over 8 years ago, Sechler’s has grown by 25%, mostly thanks to its private label packing business.

“When your name is on the side of the building, your thoughts or your strategy might be different. Maybe [I] look at different options than the family would have looked at in the past, because they were concentrated on their own brand,” Troyer explained.

And even though Troyer wasn’t part of the Sechler family, the food processing business was still in his blood; Troyer grew up on a vegetable farm just 5 miles away from the Sechler’s factory.

“That’s what I’ve known – that’s where my passion had been,” he said. “The summer I worked there in college, I thought something like this would be pretty cool, but you never think you’d have the opportunity to make it happen.”

Troyer credits his success to his work ethic.

“If you work hard throughout your life … good things could happen to you,” he said.