The Honeyville Story
Our founder, Lowell Sherratt Sr. had a good head for business. Along his journey of life Sherratt forged many great friendships with kindness and fairness. Sherratt worked as a citrus salesman in Southern California in the late 30’s and early 40’s. During which World War II was in full swing, but no one could prepare the United States for what would happen on December 7, 1941. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in a vicious sneak attack that effectively neutralized the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The United States promptly entered the war on December 8, 1941. The attack on Pearl Harbor led many to believe that Japan was planning a full-scale attack on the West Coast of the United States. Authorities questioned the loyalty of ethnic Japanese living on the U.S. West Coast and called for action. Franklin D Roosevelt responded with Executive Order 9066, which allowed military commanders to designate restricted military areas at their discretion. These areas started out with critical areas on the west coast but soon spread to cover much of the east and west coasts of the country, a full 1/3 of U.S. soil.
Some Japanese-Americans were given the opportunity to move inland, away from the designated restricted areas. Many decided to stay, often times to show their loyalty to the United States, and were grouped into internment camps across the country. Family lore has it that Earl Warren, California Attorney General and later U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice, asked Sherratt to sponsor some Japanese Americans in an effort to get them out of California. Lowell Sherratt, Sr. had built his success by developing a relationship of trust with each of his customers. His desire to serve, and his personal relationship with each of them was put to the test. The response was immediate, and the answer was “Yes!”
Sherratt sold his home, took his family, and helped his Japanese-American friends in their desperate move to Southern Utah. His friends raced to beat a March 1942 deadline to leave the restricted area or face arrest and detainment. He led the convoy of more than 10 families from Los Angeles to Page’s Ranch, an isolated ranch, 30 miles west of Cedar City. Vehicles that broke down were left behind. Taunts were common when they stopped for gas. Feelings were so bitter, as a result of the war, which merchants would only trade with the farmers under the cover of night.
The families stayed on at Page’s Ranch for a year or two before moving on to Idaho and Colorado to farm. Lowell Sherratt, Sr. stayed in Utah. In the 1950’s he bought a mill in Parowan to crack grain for a feed company in Southern California. He eventually moved his company to the small town of Honeyville, Utah, taking the name for his company, Honeyville Grain. In 1973 he continued to expand, bringing his company back to Southern California. The California facility has added technology and moved around the greater Los Angeles area before settling in Rancho Cucamonga, CA in 1988. In the fall of 1981 a warehouse and distribution facility was added in North Salt Lake City, Utah. That facility has grown and now resides near the Salt Lake City airport.
Over the years Honeyville Grain has grown and expanded into Honeyville, Inc. The company, still family owned and operated, follows the actions of its founder Lowell Sherratt, Sr. by treating people with respect, fairness, and integrity. At Honeyville, Inc., it’s our people and our philosophy that make all the difference. When Mr. Sherratt passed away in 1989, no mention was made in his obituary of the World War II trek to Page’s Ranch. When asked of his father’s role in sponsoring the displaced families, Chairman of the Board, Lowell Sherratt, Jr. comments, “We didn’t think it was extraordinary. It was just something he did for some very fine people.”
Today, with more than 50 years of experience behind us, we recognize more clearly than ever that our continued success must be built upon relationships of trust with our valued customers. The philosophy of treating people as we would like to be treated still stands as a cornerstone of our corporate vision. People can make a difference …Lowell Sherratt was right!