By Faye Gaston
To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co. is the only business in Bullock County to conduct business worldwide. It is located on a property of 33 acres at 1138 Highway 82 in Fitzpatrick community. It exports flour to Canada, Mexico, the UK, Denmark, Mongolia, New Zealand and Hong Kong, and working to expand exporting to South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Australia in the next few months.
It has 36 employees with only three of these living outside Bullock County. Founder and President is Peggy Sutton, and her husband Jeff is the CEO. The Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting ceremony of a third manufacturing facility was held at the corporate headquarters on September 8, 2016.
This was also a celebration of the 10th year in business and reaching over $4 million in annual sales.
The ceremony began with an invocation by Peggy and Jeff’s pastor, Rev. Pat McWhorter.
He said, “It is amazing to see what God does” and prayed God’s continued blessing on this business.
Peggy Sutton then spoke and said, “It is an honor to stand before you” and the business provides a healthy product and adds revenue and jobs locally. She said this is the world’s leader in this field.
She said there was lots of help these ten years. She thanked the employees and named a host of organizations who were ardent supporters.
She introduced her husband Jeff as her “great business partner” and CEO. He said the business started in Peggy’s kitchen and expanded internationally.
The business grew to 8,000 pounds a day capacity in the original building to the current 48,000 pounds a day in the new building (with a total of 12 1/2 million pounds annual volume.)
He would be traveling to Australia the next day to increase the business. He said, “This is a big thing for Bullock County.” He named the Executive Management employees, including Catherine (Terri) Meinhardt, Financial Officer. He emphasized that the food industry is highly regulated, making it safe to put on a plate. There is a Food Safely Management Act with regulations on food.
The rest of the speakers spoke of being pleased to be a part of creating jobs for Bullock County and watching this business grow.
They were: Jim Byars, Executive Director of ADECA: Bob Ramsey President of AmeriFirst Bank; Angie Sweatman, Vice-President of Alabama Small Business Capital; and Dr. Julian Cope, Director of Bullock County Development Authority. Peggy told the Herald newspaper that Bob Smith of the Alabama Department of Commerce had said this was the first time in over 30 years that the Bullock County Commission had approved a tax abatement for commercial construction and expansion.
This means that of the 10 cents tax, this business would only pay the three percent that goes for education. She said this was “a huge economic development for a business coming in or expanding.” Among those posing for photos with Peggy and Jeff was County Commissioner Alonza Ellis, Jr. He thanked them for all they are doing for Bullock County.
He said, “You showed love for Bullock County when you chose to stay here. Now others know it is possible to build a business here as you have done. Let me know if I can be of any assistance.”
Supporters recognized in the crowd were as follows: from Dixie Electric that provides a water system and electricity to this business were Ernie Faulkner, Vice-President of Member Services and Economic Development and Tommie Guthrie, Board President of South Bullock Water System. Executives from AmeriFirst Banks were Marsha Moffett and Liz Braswell. Representing the U.S. House of Representatives office of Martha Roby was Cindy Pate. County Commissioners present were Alonza Ellis, Jr. and Johnny Adams and incoming Commissioner Don Larkins.
Also present were Union Springs Mayor Saint T. Thomas, Jr. and former Mayor John McGowan; Revenue Commissioner Neara Reed; County Mapper Hawthorne Reed; Midge Putnam, Executive Director of local Tourism; Tyson Howard from SCADC and Johnny Adams, Editor of the Union Springs Herald newspaper.
Among friends and neighbors who were present was Mrs. Florence Evans who is to be honored on this coming Sunday on her 100th birthday. Brochures were available with Peggy’s statements about “our artisanally produced organic sprouted grains and flours, legumes, seeds and snacks.” Brochures contained recipes. As interviews were filmed on the cameras of WSFA-TV 12 and WCOV-TV 8, refreshments were served to adjourn the celebration.