Family-owned businesses are the engine that drives the American economy. They comprise 35% of Fortune 500 companies, account for 50% of U.S. gross domestic product and generate 60% of the country's employment and 78% of all new job creation. To keep this record of success going, family businesses, like all families, rely on their tight-knit relationships.
Allen Milam’s first job was a grocery bagger when he was 16 years old. His father was in the wholesale grocery business and, when Allen was 21, the two of them shared a common dream of one day owning their own grocery store. His father told him to learn the retail side of things and then they would go for it. Eight years later, their dream became a reality.
In 1984, the Milams opened their first store in Miami. Allen was confident and thought he knew what he was doing, but it was still a nerve-wracking process getting the business going. Through hard work and dedication, he was able to guide the fledgling market into a successful grocery store. Recognizing the rise in demand, Allen had a vision to expand to other locations throughout the city, but the hardest part of expanding the business was funding.
“When we were looking to expand, we needed a big bank to help us in a big way,” said Allen Milam, President and CEO of Milam’s Market. “Bank of America worked out a deal for us which made growing a lot easier.”
Bank of America assisted Milam’s with financing and leasing, allowing the grocer to expand into other parts of Miami and open up new stores, create employment and offer better opportunities to people in the communities they served. In turn, this support also helped Milam’s Market deliver better products.
“Milam’s is a small business with impact in Miami-Dade County. That was important for us to partner with them,” says Sig Birriel, a Senior Client Manager with Bank of America. “They have a strong team that produces results. I look for companies with a strong management team that know the market they participate in. They have discipline.”
Twenty-seven years later, there are four new stores in Dade County. Allen Milam has never lost sight of the importance of building relationships with customers, associates and with each other. It’s a family business and they work and live like a family. And for 27 years, it’s worked.
“Bank of America has always been there for us. They’ve made sure we had the money we needed to grow our business, to expand, to do whatever we needed to do,” says Milam.
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