From its beginning in 1878 as a mercantile store in Fresno, CA, Penny Newman Grain has grown to become a leading merchant in the domestic and international market for grain and feed by-products.
We are supply chain experts, adept at developing unique logistical solutions to ensure we deliver a maximum return for producers while minimizing input costs for end-users.
Our youngest division, Farm Products, offers a portfolio of innovative crop fertility inputs that help growers improve their profitability through regenerative methods.
Penny Newman plays a supporting role in the food/ag supply chain, and our philosophy is to only focus on market segments in which we truly add value. Our mission is to leverage our institutional knowledge, infrastructure and expertise to promote the profitability and longevity of all those with whom we conduct business, and to foster a future of food in which health, transparency and environmental stewardship flourish.
California’s nickname, the Golden State, has been said to refer to the discovery of gold in 1849 and to the fields of golden poppies that blossom in Spring throughout the state, but in the 1870s the real gold in California was in the millions of acres of wheat and barley that dominated a booming farm economy. Amid these golden fields, in the burgeoning town and railroad stop of Fresno, California, Adolph Kutner and Samuel Goldstein established a business to supply the area’s farmers and purchase their product.
First opening its doors in 1878 at the corner of H and Mariposa Streets, Kutner and Goldstein soon expanded into Centerville, Hanford, and other communities throughout the Central Valley. The company’s history in Hanford included a grand emporium at the corner of 7th and Irwin Streets, built in 1900 and destroyed by fire in 1928.
In 1930, Kutner and Goldstein managers Maurice A. Penny and David Newman bought the company from their employers and renamed it Penny Newman Grain Company. Young Yeprad Moradian, later dubbed “Frank” by Mr. Penny and by which he was referred for the rest of his life, went to work for the company as a clerk at the age of 18 and learned the grain trade at the hand of Penny.
Moradian was a childhood friend of the famed Fresno author and playwright, William Saroyan, and was referenced in Saroyan’s autobiographical novella Follow. Saroyan’s character tells his friend he is leaving Fresno hoping the friend will accompany him. The friend does not want to leave, explaining that he has a job lined up at a local grain company.
Frank purchased the company from Mr. Penny’s estate after his untimely death in 1943 and went on to run it for over 40 years. In addition to presiding over the company, Frank and his wife Roxie were prominent area philanthropists. The Moradians were instrumental in the establishment of Valley Children’s Hospital and the Fresno Arts Center and supported many other cultural and civic endeavors.
Mike Nicoletti came to work for Penny Newman in 1974 upon graduation from Santa Clara University. He worked closely with Frank in all aspects of the business for 13 years and became president of the company in 1987 after Frank’s untimely passing. Nicoletti purchased the company with fellow employees James Netto and Jeff Barnes in 1988. Netto ran the company’s feed division while Barnes ran the Sacramento office, merchandising rice and feed by-products. Both partners are still active and maintain similar roles today.
In 1995, Penny Newman established Penny Newman Milling and built the first grain shuttle receiving facility in California on the BNSF Railway in partnership with Land O’ Lakes. In 1999, Penny Newman purchased a deep-water port facility in Stockton, California. The port was built to export grain grown in the Western U.S. but, as California had become a net-consumer of grains and feed products with the overwhelming growth in the dairy industry, Penny Newman retrofitted it to become a predominantly import-based facility. The Stockton port remains one of the largest grain storage facilities on the West Coast and gave Penny Newman direct access to international markets for its grain and by-product trading business as well as the ability to transload for 3rd parties due to its unmatched efficiency.
In 2003, Penny Newman purchased the 62-acre site of the Ranchers Cottonseed Oil mill in South Fresno, once the largest cottonseed crush facility in the state. The site is now home to Penny Newman’s headquarters and was operationally upgraded to handle 100 car unit and shuttle trains. The facility currently handles over 12,000 railcar loads per year in addition to manufacturing finished feeds, soil amendments, and raisin trays.