Founded in the late 70’s by Phil and Norma Lisac, Lisanatti® Foods began as P.J. Lisac and Associates, Inc., as a brokerage business that transitioned into manufacturing and processing.
The first location was a 3000 square foot facility that had a cooler and freezer already in place and worked perfect for the new direction. Soon after securing the facility, son Jim came to work, followed shortly by son Jeff. The four would form what would become the nucleus of the company. In time, they would become innovators and leaders of a new industry that would span over 40 years.
The first product was a mozzarella substitute supplied to area restaurants and distributors. Sales were directed largely towards the pizza and food service industries and provided a large cost saving to their customers.
In 1980 Phil and Norma bought property in Clackamas, Oregon and broke ground that spring. In the summer of 1982 their building was completed and operations from the new location began. This would be their new home for over 20 years.
In the early 80’s the company developed a new line of soy based cheeses. SoySation® was their brand. It was cholesterol and lactose free while having less than half the fat of conventional cheese. This new line soon found success with consumers, dietitians and physicians that were looking for an alternative to conventional dairy cheeses.
Awareness of health and diet continued. Not long after the introduction of almond milk, a national manufacture asked Phil about manufacturing an almond base cheese for them. Phil agreed to take on the project and soon had a product ready for the new customer. After several years the customer decided to take their business in a different direction and discontinued their almond cheese. Phil made the decision to develop the almond cheese for his company. So, with a name change and the ramping up of production, it was just a short time before The Original Almond® was on the market with four new flavors. Now after more than 40 years “The Original Almond ® ” has become one of the top selling lines nationally.
The family’s solid success continued. In 1993, with the completion of a major expansion, the company was positioned with cutting edge processing machinery, production rooms, coolers and freezers, which would facilitate the company’s growth for the next several years.
In 1996 Phil and Norma’s daughter, Teresa, joined the family business as the company’s first full time sales person. In a short time, she became national sales manager. She continues to play a major role in the company, working with domestic accounts and bringing the company’s high quality products to new international markets.
After 20 years of doing business as P.J. Lisac & Associates Inc., the company officers felt it was time for a change. Phil Lisac came up with the idea of combining his last name “Lisac” with his wife Norma’s maiden name “Simonatti”, which seemed obvious because of the huge joint effort and commitment that was put into creating a new business from the ground up “together”. The new name was filed and from that point forward their company would be Lisanatti Foods® .
In 1998, Phil and Teresa met with a long-time customer specializing in natural products who was considering a new rice cheese. Phil said he could provide it, and confirmed with Jim that indeed they could. In a few short weeks the new product was presented to the retailer, who was thrilled with the company’s speed, and the product’s high quality. The first order was issued and RiceCheeze® was launched in the Northwest.
By 1999 more office space was needed. A 2000 square-foot storage loft was fully renovated, with a conference room, break area, bathrooms and new offices. With this, every space in the building was now supporting the continued growth of the family business.
Freeway expansions in 2005 required a new location for Lisanatti® Foods. An extensive search resulted in moving the offices to Oregon City, while manufacturing and logistics remained in Clackamas. Operations continued at the two locations until remodeling was completed, and in January 2007, the balance of equipment and inventory began moving to the new Oregon City location. This brought the entire organization back together under one roof.
Things have continued to thrive, with Phil as CEO and founder. Norma retired in 2016 after 40 years as the company’s secretary and treasurer. Jeff serves as President, and is credited with automating many areas and creating new formulations while improving on the solid financial positon that Phil built. Jim is Vice President, Teresa is National Sales Director.