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From Two Vans to 200 Trucks

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sid Wainer today is still all about family.

New Bedford—Henry Wainer walked from a food tent, to picnic tables, tapping people on the shoulder to say hi, or hugging others and starting a conversation.

“It’s a kind of very emotional day,” he said. That’s because this year, Sid Wainer & Son, the family-owned business, celebrates 100 years. For the occasion, employees and their family were invited to Buttonwood Park Zoo to roam and see animals, as well as to meet other families and have some food. Asked what his 38 years have been like, Tom Furtado, a vice president at the company said, “(It’s) been great, we took it from having two vans to 200 trucks.”

“I knew Henry has a vision, and his vision took us there,” he said. “We supported him.”

“It’s amazing to see the progression of the company,” said Victor Simas, the other vice president there, who was hired by Wainer’s father. Simas runs the company farm on Barney’s Joy Road.

“We’ve got over 300 crops that we grow on a test basis,” he said. “We grow things at the farm that we never thought we would.” Those include herbs, spices, 30 kinds of tomatoes and more.

Wainer said his grandfather began the Wainer Bros. business on Union Street’s cobblestones in 1914 with his brother. Later, Henry’s own father continued the family business.

“That was the day there were still corner markets,” Henry Wainer said, adding the owner was also the butcher, and performed other jobs as well.

He said he grew up in the business, but then went to college before he took over the company in 1973.

Today, the company distributes its products in several states and internationally, and works with more than 23,000 chefs.

“We run trucks in nine different states…(and) ship all over America,” he said. “We could never do it without our families.”

But one person at the event was not surprised by the company’s growth.

Beverly Wainer, Henry Wainer’s mother, said, “I had a lot of faith in (the company).”

“I’m not surprised, because Henry, he’s that type of fellow who wants to grow, grow, grow.”

Now Allie Wainer, Henry’s daughter, has joined the business as well, making it a fourth-generation company. Allie said that 20 percent of Sid Wainer’s employees have been working there for 10 years or more, 35 percent have been there over five years, and about 30 people have been with the company for over 20 years.

“It’s our 100th anniversary…we wanted to show appreciation for our employees,” she said.

“They’re really why we are here today.”

Veronica Rogers, whose husband works for Sid Wainer, stood under the food tent.

“(It’s) a family-oriented company,” she said. “Henry’s great with that, including the families of the workers.”

Rogers said she is meeting the families of other employees for the first time.

“It’s nice to see everybody together,” she said.

Lisa Whelan said she has been working at the company for more than three years, taking a break to open her own business, a catering company called Dancing Spoons.

Whelan said Sid Wainer & Son was both family- and community-oriented.

“They work with local farms,” she said. “I love the company…You feel like you’re part of a family.”

Tracey Maggio said she has been working at Sid Wainer & Son for 25 years.

“I spend my day talking with local chefs, helping them plan their menus,” she said.

Maggio said Sunday’s event was “amazing.”

“It’s really great to get to see everyone,” she said.

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