Eastern Poultry Distributors, Inc. was founded by John C. Rueger in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. John brokered fresh whole birds from chicken producers on the Eastern Shore of Maryland to customers in Baltimore, Washington and Philadelphia, which is the inspiration for our company’s name.
John partnered with Webster Poultry in Pittsboro, North Carolina to build a cut-up facility, supplying Eastern with all of the production out of that plant.
John sold his shares of that company back to Webster. Although successful, Eastern remained a relatively small trading company with one to two salesmen until 1970. That was when John’s youngest son, Tom, came to work for Eastern. A young entrepreneur, Tom was eager to expand the business.
The torch was passed to Tom and a new chapter in the company’s life began.
Tom opened Brandywine Foods in Cochranville, Pennsylvania. This deboning and processing facility initially found its niche in portion controlled boneless breast, but quickly built a strong market for breaded tenders and party wings. As Brandywine Foods grew, so did Eastern.
Eastern was up to eight sales specialists, several of whom are still with the company.
Brandywine Foods cut the ribbon on another plant in Cleveland, Mississippi. Much larger and more efficient, this plant was better suited to meet the company’s growing demands.
Brandywine’s growth did not go unnoticed, and Tom sold the business with 900 employees and $100M in annual sales to Tyson Foods.
Under Tom’s leadership, Eastern has continued its consistent growth. Today, our 17 salesmen also sell beef, pork, seafood and other products throughout the US and abroad. Eastern has come a long way in just over 58 years, yet the company remains loyal to its core values and roots as a family business. Tom recently named his oldest son Ted as President of the company. Look for Eastern to grow and move forward in the years ahead while always maintaining it’s core values.