Hometown Provisions, Inc., is an independent, family-owned business, with over 40 years of experience distributing a wide variety of food products to customers in southeastern Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. The company, Hometown Provisions, as it is known today has been in existence since 2005, when Richard P. Rote and Sons and Mellinger Foods merged. Since 2005 the company has grown into a regional broadline distributor of over 6,000 products, we have seen increased growth in customer base and loyalty and have been able to cultivate a successful working environment.
Richard P. Rote and Sons History
In 1973 Richard P. Rote purchased a refrigerated truck and routes from William Wilson Meats. In the early days he picked up the products in Philadelphia and sold off his truck the rest of the week. Eventually he added a walk-in cooler to a detached garage at his house to inventory some of the products.
In 1979 Richard’s oldest son, Paul, graduated from high school and began working full time in the business. Paul, who had helped his dad since the beginning of the business, got his own truck so they now had two trucks delivering. It was then that the business really started to grow. They added a few chest freezers and now had products being delivered to them in addition to picking up in Philadelphia.
In 1985 Richard’s wife, Ann, began helping out with office work. When Richard’s father, Richard Sr., retired from his job he began helping out a few days a week as well, loading trucks and riding along on deliveries. He would continue working until he passed away in 1993.
When Richard needed heart surgery in 1994, his youngest son, Dan began working in the business full time. Like Paul, he had been helping out since he was a young boy. When Richard recovered Dan kept working but now he and Dan had switched roles, with Dan doing most of the deliveries and Richard working around the garage, loading and receiving.
As the business continued to grow, they added a second cooler and a walk-in freezer. Their growth was due mostly to customer service and a positive word of mouth from current customers. They grew along with their customers seeing many of them open up new businesses as their families grew.
Mellinger Foods History
After working multiple years for a deli meats company, Barry Mellinger desired to operate his own business. In 1980, he became a distributor for Freda Meats, a premium deli luncheon meats company from Philadelphia. He operated the business under the name Mellinger Foods and sold out of his truck until 1983, when he built a walk-in cooler and office in his family’s home garage. He then added another truck and expanded his route.
In order to serve his customers better Barry’s wife, Jeri began working in the office, in 1983. In the late 80’s he sold part of his route to help finance the construction of a larger facility. The new warehouse was opened in 1991, located south of Strasburg. With the additional space, Mellinger Foods was able to expand their product line to include fresh, prepared and frozen products.
The business grew over the next 14 years, largely due to its loyal customers, Jeri’s ability to manage the office, and the able assistance of faithful and dependable employees. Many of Mellinger Foods’ customers have been with the company for 30 years.
By 2004 Mellinger Foods was again out-growing their warehouse space. Expansion at Barry’s current location would prove to be difficult, so he began to brainstorm other options to expand. After many discussions, Mellinger Foods and Richard P. Rote and Sons merged in 2005, establishing the company as it is known today, Hometown Provisions. To accommodate Hometown Provisions, Barry built a larger facility in the Willow Street area in 2005.
Hometown Provisions, Inc
Since the companies merged Barry became President and still works daily as a Buyer and Sales Representative. Jeri later retired in 2006. Richard helped out one day a week until shortly before he passed away in July 2012, and Ann retired in 2016. Paul works as a Buyer and a Sales Representative. Then, in 2009 Barry and Jeri’s daughter, Kristy, joined the company as Marketing Director and in 2015 became Chief Operating Officer.
Hometown Provisions Timeline
2008 Hometown Provisions acquired Lancaster County Farms, a wholesale distributor specializing in eggs, butter, dairy and fresh poultry. This acquisition expanded Hometown’s customer base, personnel and product line.
2013 Hometown Provisions became a broadline distributor when fresh produce was added to the product mix.
2014 Barry began a warehouse expansion as Hometown had outgrew the warehouse and office space. The warehouse expansion was completed in June 2015 giving the company three times the space to stock product and be able to better serve their customer base.
2015 Hometown Provisions celebrated their 10 year anniversary.
Hometown Provisions is looking forward to future growth and will continue to provide the excellent customer service that has allowed the company to thrive for over 40 years.