The Spring House Dairy
Family Members: Sam and Bev Minor; Sam Minor Jr., wife Marsha, children: Sammy, Josh, Gabe, Lucas and Mia; Marcia, husband Don, children Donny and Nathan; Jill Miles, husband Kelly, children Abby, Sarah, Isaac and Zechy; Tee Kelley and Jodi Englehardt
History of the SpringHouse
The SpringHouse was opened by Sam and Bev Minor in 1975 as a way to process and sell milk from their 40 dairy cows.
When the couple opened the store, they named it in honor of an old-fashioned building that was located on their historic dairy farm. A spring house is a small building constructed over a spring to keep a constant, cool temperature inside in order to store milk.
The SpringHouse was born, and word-of-mouth soon spread about the high-quality milk, homemade soups and buns. It wasn’t too long before customers were requesting Bev to serve lunch-time sandwiches, leading to an expansion of the store’s business.
“We learned the business side of the store from working with friends who owned a farm market,” Bev said. “But, we came naturally to the dairy farm, since both Sam and I were raised on farms and studied agriculture at Penn State University.”
The couple raised five children on their dairy farm, all the while running their increasingly successful farm store. By 1986, several of the Minor children had graduated from college and headed back to the family business, so Sam and Bev decided to expand. The SpringHouse was renovated with a full-service kitchen, hot buffet and an expanded bakery.
Today the SpringHouse is a true family business: Daughter Marcia manages the daily operations, daughter Jill manages the growing catering branch, and Sam Jr. manages the dairy farm, ensuring a quality source of milk for customers.
The SpringHouse’s milk is well-known in the community, and its chocolate milk is the stuff of legends – a favorite of kids, adults and construction workers alike.
It All Begins with the Cows
The milk sold at the store starts with the high-quality care that Sam Jr. gives the 125 Holstein cows on the Minor’s dairy farm. The 300-acre farm is one mile from the store and has a new barn and milking parlor. The cows sleep on comfortable “mattresses,” and in the summer are kept cool with misters and fans. All of this is done to ensure they are making the best quality milk possible for the SpringHouse customers.
“We know that how we care for our cows is a vital piece to our business,” Sam Jr. said. “With top-notch care, we can provide our loyal customers with the fresh milk they love.”
That milk is taken to the store where it is bottled on-site. Customers can watch this happen through a large picture window in the store. Besides chocolate milk, the Minors make whole, 2%, skim and heavy cream.
Family is the Focus
The Minor family uses the SpringHouse as a community hub, focused on family events. Each year, they host “memory-making” events, such as breakfast with Santa, Easter egg hunt, Mother’s Day chicken BBQ, tea with teddy, great pumpkin weekends and pig roasts. To further the agricultural education of customers, the family also hosts school and general farm tours for almost 6,000 people every year.
And, they continue to spread the fame of their milk by participating in three local farm markets and a booth at the Washington County fair where they sell their milk and baked goods.
“It all comes back to the family, ours and our customers,” Sam said. “As a family business, we’re very blessed to have jobs that complement each of our abilities. As a dairy farmer, it’s gratifying to have three children back on the farm. And, as a business owner, it’s great to be able to give back to the community with our family-focused events.”
The next time you and your family are in western Pennsylvania, be sure to make the trip to the SpringHouse. You won’t soon forget it, or the famous chocolate milk!