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The 94-Year History of Mt. Olive Pickle Company

The 94-Year History of Mt. Olive Pickle Company

The 94-year history of Mt. Olive Pickle Company is filled with momentous events. We’d love to give you a rundown of every single highlight of our long and fruitful career. But since we don’t have space for a 1,000-page bio on our blog, we’ll settle for giving you some of the peaks.

The 1920s: Where it All Began

It all started in the 1920s. An enterprising Lebanese immigrant, Shikrey Baddour from nearby Goldsboro, decided to start his own business by taking advantage of bumper crops of local cucumbers. The goal was to sell brined cucumbers to nearby pickling firms for a tidy profit. He enlisted the aid of George Moore, who had some pickling experience, to help him. But, this was a business plan that didn’t exactly work out.

1926: A New Plan of Action is Formed

By January 1926, it was obvious that a new plan of action was needed. A Mount Olive businessman, I.F. Witherington, realized Mr. Baddour was on to something. He helped gather a group of likeminded local business people to establish a pickle company and pack the pickles themselves.

The first manufacturing space for the newly formed Mt. Olive Pickle Company wasn’t exactly an imposing edifice. The building measured a grand total of 3,600 square feet. The company’s 37 shareholders that first year started what they called a “community proposition” with $19,500 in capital.

The first board of directors included H.M. Cox Sr. as the president, Mr. Witherington as the vice president, and C.W. Oliver as the secretary and treasurer.

MOPICO, an acronym for Mt. Olive Pickle Company, was among the earliest company brands. This label is from the 30s & 40s

Once in place, the board then proceeded to hire George Moore as the superintendent of the factory. They retained Baddour as their official salesman. They gave both men shares in the company for their original investment. The board then made a wise purchase, buying up a single acre of land from J.A. Westbrook, a nearby farmer, for the princely sum of $1,000.

Today, that land is still owned by Mt. Olive Pickle Company. In fact, it’s a vital part of the current manufacturing area. Farmer Westbrook’s original home is still there as well. It stands as a good luck beacon directly across from the plant.

 

1940s Pickle truck

The Forties: A Period of Consolidation

The forties and fifties were a time of growth, profit, and consolidation for Mt. Olive Pickle Company. It took until 1947 for the company to finally reach the profit milestone of $1 million per annum. However, that didn’t stop the firm from introducing more than its share of very welcome innovations.

1943 saw a major positive change for the firm. This was the year that the company initiated a profit-sharing plan for all of its full-time employees. With this plan freshly in place, the firm became one of the first 200 companies in the United States to adopt this wise and forward-thinking solution.

 

Lines of farmers bring cucumbers to market in June 1947 –  From Conservation and Development Photograph File, State Archives; Raleigh, NC

The Fifties: A Period of Change and Progress

The Fifties were likewise a period of great change and forward progress. In the year 1959, the company was able to establish an official Employee Community Fund. This program started on a shoestring budget with a mere $1,000 in the kitty. The fund was and is administered by a specially selected committee of company employees.

Over the course of the ensuing decades, the fund has been able to contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars to a wide variety of community organizations. As of this writing, all company employees who are eligible to contribute give 30 cents out of every $100 of their gross wages. This a sum that the company eagerly matches.

 

The 21st Century: A Time of Proud Reflection

The 21st century has brought a new period of productivity and prosperity. It has also brought Mt. Olive Pickle Company nearer to the century mark. This is the perfect time for owners and employees alike to reflect on what the company has meant to its community, its country, and the world as a whole.

Did you know that Mt. Olive is, as of 2020, the number one best-selling pickle brand in the entire United States? Its best-selling flavor is Kosher Dill.

From its original extent of just one acre, the company now occupies 180. It also owns 1.2 million square feet worth of manufacturing and warehouse space. The firm also possesses a massive tank yard. 1,100 fiberglass tanks stand on the yard, with a combined storage capacity that can accommodate over 40 million pounds of cucumbers.

To say that the future continues to look bright for the firm would be an understatement. Mt. Olive Pickle Company has grown from humble roots to become a national treasure.

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