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The Star Democrat: Produce wholesaler honored by comptroller

Produce wholesaler honored by comptroller

June 17, 2019

By CHRISTINA ACOSTA cacosta@chespub.com

EASTON — Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot made a stop in Easton on Monday, June 17, to present the Talbot County Cornerstone Award for Local Business Excellence to Teddy Bear Fresh Produce.

For 10 years, Teddy Bear Fresh Produce Owner/President Mary Salins and her family have redefined the role of a wholesale business, delivering personalized customer service to supply the freshest produce; and dairy products to restaurants, schools and health care facilities on the Eastern Shore and Annapolis regions.

Franchot also handed Salins with a Certificate of Recognition to Teddy Bear Fresh Produce; and staff members, including the Salins family members, received medallions for continuing the successful business.

“It underlines how much Maryland and the State appreciates small businesses. We appreciate first, second, third, fourth and fifth generation coming along,” Franchot said. “The award was created to underline how important independence, innovation and invest is with a small business community.”

Also in attendance were Sen. Addie Eckardt, R-37-Mid-Shore; Del. Johnny Mautz, R-37B-Talbot; Talbot County Council Vice President Chuck Callahan; Easton Ward 1 Councilman Al Silverstein; Easton Ward 2 Councilman Don Abbatiello; Easton Ward 3 Councilman Ronald Engle; Mark Powell, representative for Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joseph Bartenfelder; and Melissa Kelly, representative for Senator Chris Van Hollen.

Salins started the business from her kitchen table, and she filled in the orders and started delivering in her truck, which has now evolved to 14 trucks on the road. The business, located at 28595 Mary’s Court in Easton, is a supplier of fresh produce and dairy, as well as a full line of Ken’s Steakhouse salad dressings and many other foodservice items to restaurants, school systems and health care facilities on the Eastern Shore.

Since 2009, the business has also helped farmers get their products into the market. They offer competitive pricing, no minimum order amounts; and can deliver to customers either the same day or the next day, for six days a week. The business is a Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) certified facility.

“We went from five items to over 1,500 items now, and with that we have incorporated and worked with as many local farmers as we can, when local is available,” Salins said.

Also during Franchot’s visit, Denise Lovelady, USDA state director of Delaware and Maryland, awarded the local business with a $44,541 energy grant.

“I followed your career here, I watched your challenges, but also your success,” Lovelady said. “I’m going to give you a certificate of award, and this is for our Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). We are very happy to partner with you on that, Mary.”

Rural development investment will be used to make energy efficiency improvements at Teddy Bear Fresh Produce stores, from the purchase and installation of refrigeration units to LED lighting improvements.

The project will realize more than $28,000 per year in savings — 247,000 kilowatt hours which equates to enough electricity to power 22 homes, according to Lovelady.

“We have started implementing those with compressors, we have already seen a savings of $2,600 a month. Our electric bill runs between $5,000 and $7,000 a month. So we have been able to cut those down by about $2,500 to $2,600 a month,” Salins said.

In the next 10 years, Salins hopes to continue the business and continue to provide great customer service.

“Having the customer service and fulfilling what the needs are of our customers. I hope that we are able to reach out to more farmers and to be able to just expand in different ways,” Salins said. “With each day, it is a new vision.”

The business is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. For more information, visit http://teddybearfresh.com.

https://www.stardem.com/news/local_news/produce-wholesaler-honored-by-comptroller/article_f155b723-7fcc-5a5a-8dab-4348c49c090a.html

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