BBA honors Southern Classic

Published 11:20 pm Thursday, January 21, 2010

Southern Classic Food Group, LLC. was honored as the industry of the year at the Brundidge Business Association banquet Thursday night. Chuck Caraway the owner of Southern Classic Food Group was honored by the BBA and the City of Brundidge after he spoke to the approximately 80 attendees at the very location where he broke ground on his business in 2002, which has since been converted to the remarkable We Piddle Around Theater.

“How many banana sandwiches do you think we could make with a 3,000 pound tote of mayonnaise?” Caraway asked one audience member after describing some of the products manufactured by Southern Classic Food Group.

Whatever that figure might be, it’s certain that the Brundidge based food manufacturer could provide enough chocolate desert topping for as many banana split sundaes afterwards.

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The company also produces popular Bloody Mary mixes, barbecue sauces and marinades.

“You can go to any grocery store, and I can pull 10-15 products off the shelf and tell you they were made right here in Brundidge,” Caraway said.

Caraway said the products made by Southern Classic Food Group are shipped nationally and internationally, and they sometimes have to go a long way just to stay home.

“Sometimes we make products that go 1,500 miles north, then come all the way back down here and end up at the Wal-Mart Distribution Center,” he said, to a laughing audience.

But the food’s journey is necessary to get the food marketed and packaged into a familiar image to consumers. In order to process the long list of ingredients that each exceeds one million pounds per year, Caraway employs a significant number of personnel.

“Full time we employ about 120 people,” he said. “In the summertime we’ll be putting on about 50 to 60 more people on a contract basis.”

Caraway said his payroll from last year was $3.9 million, a number he was proud could be injected into the local economy.

Caraway also said the company preferred to use local transportation companies whenever possible.

“JCrawley Transportation located out in Banks is my number one guy,” he said.

Caraway said he also uses Troy based shippers Wiley Sanders and Tyler Transportation.

Caraway said that at his facilities, he currently has the ability to expand 90,000 square feet.

After honoring Caraway, BBA president John Ramage turned the banquets attention to Pike County Schools.

“Our Schools here are great,” Ramage said. “If you haven’t walked through the doors of Pike County High School in the last couple of years, I encourage you to do so. You’ll look around and you’ll say ‘wow’.”

Pike County Elementary School 5th grade teacher Stephanie Tucker, and PCHS Spanish teacher Lydia Ellis were then honored as teachers of the year at their respective schools. Both teachers welcomed people in the community to come out and visit the schools.

Ramage wrapped up the banquet by urging residents to support the local economy. “If we don’t support each other who will?”