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Podcast Blog

159: Jake Manthei—A Family Firm That Lives Blue Ocean Strategy®

Posted by Andrea Simon on Nov 4, 2019 6:00:00 AM

Hear how great things happen when you're willing to change!

Jake Manthei and his company, Aster Brands, was a client of ours when I led a Blue Ocean Strategy workshop for their manufacturers last year. These were very smart individuals who each knew it was time to find their Blue Ocean. They also knew they have to continue to innovate, find new ways to solve problems, and at times, pause and re-think “the way we do things.” We had a great time, and I learned a lot about how companies can listen to client needs, see unmet ones, and turn those ideas into real business opportunities, even without following a Blue Ocean Strategy process. It's all about learning how to listen differently. Now it's your turn...listen in!

Jake MantheiA family business that's passionate about unleashing possibilities

Aster Brands provides forms, molds, equipment and support for concrete manufacturers around the globe. What sets it apart is less what it does than how it does it. This is a very Blue Ocean company. Aster Brands is also the parent company of Redi-Rock International, Rosetta Hardscapes and Pole Base. 

You will love Jake and enjoy his journey with us

I really liked Jake's three core principles for his organization: Lead the Way, Never Give Up, Always Be Caring. I know they will give you some ideas about how to think about your own organization and the values you hold dear.

The conversation in our podcast is three-fold:

  1. How does a family firm (Aster Brands is now into its fourth generation) sustain its growth and its family roots?
  2. How did Redi-Rock take such an innovative, Blue Ocean approach to solving a real unmet need for builders—namely, how to build strong retaining walls more easily and effectively?
  3. What is the power of Aster Brands' culture and its core values for attracting and retaining talent from across the country to Petosky, Michigan, which is neither an area of high density nor necessarily a popular go-to community?

Background on Jake Manthei

Jake is a fourth-generation entrepreneur and a partner in The Manthei Group, a collection of companies in a wide range of industries across North America that was originally started in the early 1900s by Jake's great grandmother, Constance Manthei, who grew and sold aster flowers. Over the decades, Constance's small venture grew to include a hardwood veneer and plywood mill, a heavy construction company, a concrete company, a local microbrewery and several RV resorts, in addition to Aster Brands. Its motto: "Enriching lives through our creations."

Jake graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in marketing.

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Topics: Blue Ocean Strategy, business innovation, family firm

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