Our founder, Sadık Yılmaz reminisces:
During an interview, Sadık Yılmaz recalls the story of how he got into the dairy business:
“My family migrated in 1926 from the Dráma town of Thessaloniki during the population exchange between Greece and Turkey under the Lausanne Convention and settled first in Aydın, then in the Harmanlı Village, formerly known as Kirmikir, in Karacabey.
My father Celaleddin Yılmaz joined the elderly committee of the village two years after settling and was elected as mukhtar, a duty he maintained for 17 years. A well-respected man who was known as a just leader, my father also dabbled in agriculture and livestock farming.
Due to our livestock business and my father’s position as the mukhtar, we were friends and business partners at the time with the owner of a large dairy farm in Bursa. My father would help him with his business in the area and provided milk to his dairy farm in our village. That person phoned my father in 1958 from Bursa and asked him to participate in the milk tender on his behalf at the Karacabey Stables. My father paid the provisional cover that day, and we were granted the right to participate in the tender. On the day of the tender, my father and I went to the stables where, after a long and competitive bidding, we won the tender.
At around 11 o’clock the following day, my father received a phone call while working in his office. Whatever the person on the phone was saying, my father was getting visibly angrier as he spoke. Eventually, he snapped, “I am Celaleddin of Kirmikir, my word is my bond!” and he firmly hung up the phone. The friend who had asked my father to participate in the tender on his behalf backed down on purchasing the milk and decided to let go of the provisional payment. He said he would repay my father the amount paid on his behalf. My father, however, did not feel comfortable breaking his word even if it had been given on behalf of someone else. He felt like he couldn’t explain the situation to the managers
of the Karacabey Stables, the people of Karacabey, his family, or his friends and decided to go through with the tender whatever the outcome may be. According to the tender conditions, we had to purchase four metric tons of milk per day for a year. But we had neither the money nor the containers, masters, or apprentices for such a purchase. But a promise was a promise, and Celaleddin of Kirmikir would purchase four metric tons of milk from the stables the next morning. And that is how we found ourselves in the dairy business. We began contemplating what to do with our four metric tons of milk, and eventually, decided to use it to produce kashkaval cheese.”
Starting for the sake of keeping a promise, the journey soon took off on a more stable pace and became a main business line for the family.