The Hill & Valley Story
A strong family tradition, and attention to the ingredients of success, have translated into 20 years of sweet success for a Rock Island-based wholesale baking company. When founder George Coin started Hill & Valley, Inc. (then named the Rock Island Baking Company) in February 1987, he had no idea that his small company would become one of the country's leading producers of sugar-free and no-sugar-added products. Coin just knew he wanted to stay in the bakery business where he had worked since he was a child.
Coin attributes the company's survival and success to several things: spotting a market niche early in
the company's history; the willingness to change and grow; and strong, supportive family values that carry over into the company's employee relations.
Pies were the primary product for the first two years of the Rock Island Baking Company. This included a line of 4-inch snack pies named after his wife Nancy because, as Coin says, he didn't think anyone would buy George's pies. It wasn't long before he noticed that the only snack pies that really sold well were a no-sugar-added variety.
In 1988, the company began using a sugar substitute in all of its pies. Sales increased, and the company's focus changed, along with the name. The Rock Island Baking Company became Nancy's Pies, Inc. "Some of it was luck," Coin says, "And the fact that when you start to run out of money, you get real creative, real fast." Nancy's Pies was clearly on to something, as few in-store bakeries had the time or the resources to specialize in making bakery-quality sugar-free desserts for those looking to reduce refined sugar in their diet. "Back then, grocery store managers were not really aware of the need for products with alternative sweeteners, but today, with diabetes reaching near epidemic proportions, both awareness and need have changed," notes Coin.
Today Hill & Valley, Inc. employs more than 100 people and is the largest exclusive manufacturer of sugar-free and no-sugar-added bakery products in the United States. Its desserts now include cakes, cookies, muffins and brownies, as well as pies. "There are also far more sugar substitutes than ever before," Coin says. "Our main mission is to provide the freshest tasting product possible. Our cookies are from the in-store bakery and taste fresh with a soft center." Hill & Valley bakery products are artificially sweetened with a blend of Sorbitol and Maltitol, which are derived from corn.
Finally Coin credits much of the company's success to a strong family with a great balance of skills. In the early days, George's wife Nancy helped in the office and with production. His son, Harry, was an early investor, advisor, and cheerleader.
Coin also sings the praises of his son-in-law, Scott Florence, who served as President of Hill & Valley until October of 2011.
With the demand for in-store bakery goods on the rise, the future looks bright for Hill & Valley.
Hill & Valley products are sold nationwide, primarily through supermarket in-store bakeries. The firm's customer list includes a majority of the country's major chains. For more information on where to purchase Hill & Valley products, call 1-800-480-0055 or click here.