Local Businesses Are Still Open and Thriving
By DYLAN McKENZIE
MARTINS FERRY — Bread and milk are considered by many Americans to be dietary staples, consumed and purchased by millions daily. In Martins Ferry, two business that have been open for decades provide these products to consumers from all over.
United Dairy is located on Fifth Street in Martins Ferry and provides milk and various dairy products to a wide customer base. The business has been active in providing quality service and products for more than 50 years, trying to keep up with changes in tastes and buying patterns. The plant is a large, well-oiled operation that does everything from homogenizing and pasteurizing the milk to adding flavorings to make strawberry, chocolate, and other varieties of milk, before placing them into cardboard or plastic containers and being stored in a cooler for distribution. Martins Ferry and its sister plants in Charleston, W.Va., and Uniontown, Pa., combined distribute more than 1 million gallons of milk each week. The company has three processing plants and seven branches in four different states. The Martins Ferry plant is also an important county employer, with 460 individuals helping to make the operation run smoothly. In August, Belmont County commissioners toured the facility, learning a little more about the company that provides such a valuable service to the area.
“Working in the dairy industry is always interesting. Since you’re dealing with a perishable product, we are forced to be on our toes at all times to assure that we are putting out a good product for our customers,” said Doug Longenette, director of human resources for the company.
Longenette has been with the company for 27 years, working many different positions including floor supervisor and plant manager.
“I guess one of the things I like most about working here is that no two days are the same. There is always a challenge to overcome, such as the weather and numerous other obstacles. You have to remember: ‘Cows don’t get days off, so we in the industry don’t bet many off either.'”
He attributes the continued success of the company to being a family-owned business that always looks ahead to adapt to the times. The company is owned by the Carson family, who Longenette said still have an active role in day-to-day operations of the business.
On the other end of the Purple City, Nickles Bakery also provides a valuable service to local residents, providing fresh baked bread and other products to customers as it has been doing so for nearly 100 years. According to information on the company website, it all began when founder Alfred Nickles immigrated to the United States in 1903, opening the Navarre Bakery and Ice Cream Co. six years later in Navarre. The company soon began to grow, establishing a sales distribution branch in Canton, Ohio, in 1927. In 1934, the company bought a bakery in Martins Ferry, establishing a presence that has lasted until the present day. The location has continued to grow and thrive since then, building a new bakery in 1953, adding onto it to automate the bread line in 1984, and adding on to house cream yeast tanks in 2007. Employees work hard every day to help turn out sandwich buns, breads, dinner rolls, and other fresh products that are then distributed to local supermarkets and grocery stores, ready to be picked up by customers.