How Maud Borup CEO Christine Lantinen Grew Sales 50% During a Pandemic

One year after her first One Take interview, Christine Lantinen returns to discuss how Maud Borup weathered the pandemic; how its attracting and retaining talent both in the Twin Cities and Le Center, Minn.; why it’s looking to expand capacity yet again after just adding 70,000 square feet last year; whether employees are required to work at the corporate office; and more.

Lantinen is owner and CEO of Maud Borup, a candy and gourmet foods maker with nearly 40 million dollars in annual sales, which is up almost 50 percent from a year ago, and more than 200 employees, double from a year ago. The company sells to specialty and mass retailers such as Walmart and Target, and has licensing agreements to make food items for large global brands such as Hell’s Kitchen. Maud Borup develops more than 150 products each year and each item can be customized to fit what each client would like. During 2020, the company cornered the U.S. market for hot cocoa bombs.

Watch the interview here on YouTube, or downloaded/listen to it here via Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts. For those wanting to jump to a specific question and answer, see the segment links below: 

  • 01:50 (Skip intro.) We talked one year ago at this time (May 2020) about how you were going to deal with the pandemic. How did it go?
  • 02:55 How much were your margins affected, and why?
  • 03:50 Did you increase pay for your second shift by $5 an hour?
  • 04:21 Beyond wage increases, what are you doing to attract and retain talent?
  • 05:35 Any chance piece-rate or mini-shifts could help?
  • 06:49 Any thoughts about offering daycare or some other service for employees at your main production facility?
  • 07:36 How pursuing B corporation status help with recruitment and retention?
  • 08:36 What a certified B corporation is.
  • 09:07 A year ago you required people to keep coming to work. As society has since adopted more of a work remotely at least sometimes attitude, what is your policy?
  • 11:33 Tell us more about the family aspect of your family business.
  • 15:34 In the midst of intense economic and social uncertainty one year ago, you were still going 100 percent toward a major expansion. How did that go and where are you at with capacity today?
  • 17:49 In the past year attention has focused more toward diversity and inclusion in the workplace. How does Maud Borup deal with this issue? How have you cornered the market on cocoa bombs and what’s next for this product line?
  • 23:00 Are you already looking to expand our production capacity yet again?
  • 24:28 What’s your biggest challenge as you look at the next 12 months to 24 months
  • 26:14 What’s meant when saying new hires need to “geek out at being challenged every day.”


Watch Lantinen’s first One Take CEO Interview in May 2020 here.

Watch other recent One Take CEO Interviews with…


About One Take CEO Interviews: In each episode, one CEO shares his or her take on leading through myriad challenges ranging from Covid-19 to attracting and retaining great talent. Each interview is recorded in one take with no edits. The interviews are produced by award-winning journalist Dale Kurschner, who today serves as strategy and communication consultant at Platinum Group, Minnesota’s most experienced firm helping business owners and leaders with extreme challenges ranging from rapid growth and acquisitions, to turnarounds and divestitures.