Specialty Food Magazine

SUMMER 2015

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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side, we were very aggressive in trying to sell to the mom-and-pops and to the small gift stores and the upscale gift stores. Over time, those small businesses began having a hard time competing with bigger businesses," Jane acknowledges. "We've sort of had to change our focus to go to more specialty grocery and larger stores." But one of the biggest changes the company has seen was its name change from Peanut Patch to Feridies, not long after Alice and Jane moved home. "When our parents started the business as supple- mental income for their teaching careers, they didn't ever think they'd be in business 42 years later," Jane says. "Nor did they do any research on the name. They were in a country store selling all things calico, pork, and peanuts and the name made sense." It wasn't until they teamed up to cobrand with L.L.Bean in 2001 that they learned a trademarked Peanut Patch brand already existed. "We spent two years com- ing up with a new name and changing our packaging," Jane explains. "Everyone thought we were nuts because it was an expensive process and it is hard to trade- mark names these days." In the end, they settled on a combina- tion of family members' names: Alice and Paul Shaf FER, Judy and Bob RIDdick, Jane and Ted FrIES. The resulting name, Feridies, has served the brand well. "It means something to us," Jane says. "It has also allowed us to grow our business into other areas and gives us the opportunity to expand outside of peanuts." Finding Strength in Their Roots For Jane, Feridies can tie its stability to the people the business works with and its com- munity. The company has consistently been in the top 10 non-governmental employers in Southampton County, and the family is grateful to those who have stayed with them over the years. "We've been fortunate to have employees with us since day one," Jane says. "And many more have been with us for 10 to 35 years." Outside the state, the family serves as advocates for the entire Virginia specialty food industry. Judy Riddick was instrumen- tal in starting the Virginia food and bever- age association, and the family has been recognized as mentors in specialty foods. To this day, the gift shop features Virginia-made crafts and food products, but to Jane, peanuts have always been the state's perfect product. "We're only 42 years old, but our 50th anniversary will be here before we know it," Jane says. "Though we're coming up to that milestone, every day when you're selling peanuts—the next big sale and the next big opportunity—get- ting more people to be knowledgeable about Virginia peanuts is what we get excited about. Obviously we want people to pur- chase our brand, but we just want to let the world know how wonderful Virginia-type peanuts are." producer profile Olivia Kingsley is a creative writer based in San Francisco. Her work can be found at olivia-kingsley.com. "We've all been taught to go and spread our wings and see what's out there and do the things that interest us. If you're going to run your own business, you need to have that spirit." From a furniture refurbishing business with gifts on consignment to today's 45,000-square-foot facility. 60 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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