10:06am: Talkline with Hoppy Kercheval

Sheetz and WV bakery to meet about pepperoni roll supplies

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — A Thursday meeting could tell the fate of a business partnership between a West Virginia bakery and a Pennsylvania based convenience store.

Owners of Rogers and Mazza Bakery in Harrison County were notified by email that Sheetz no longer planned to use them as the pepperoni roll supplier to 117 stores in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

“They told us that they are moving toward a warehouse program and they were deauthorizing all pepperoni roll direct store delivery suppliers to move toward the warehouse program,” Michael Mazza, bakery co-owner, explained.

That email, according to Mazza, came in Friday evening. By the weekend, hundreds of people took to social media, some directing their displeasure with the news specifically at the company.

“Bring back WV pepperoni rolls or your stores will go out of business in WV,” commented Jay Barth.
“RETURN WV pepperoni rolls, made by West Virginians to WV Sheetz Stores, Please,” wrote Sharon McClung-Martz on a Sheetz facebook page.

By Monday afternoon, the Mazzas were invited to meet with Sheetz representatives in Altoona, Pennsylvania later in the week.

“It was just an email stating we have a meeting. They gave me an address. We have to be there at noon,” said Dennis Mazza, Michael’s brother and co-owner of the family business. “It has to better than just saying your last day is August 3 and that was it.”

The Mazzas aren’t sure what to expect. A statement from the company to MetroNews affiliate WAJR AM did not address the meeting.

“Currently, we have four vendor partners providing pepperoni rolls to our stores. Three of those vendor partners are West Virginia based companies. To ensure consistency throughout the company, we have identified the need for one vendor to supply this product, and that evaluation is on-going. We appreciate our customers’ passion around our offerings and thank them for their feedback during this evaluation process.”

Dennis Mazza is hopeful customer support of the West Virginia-made pepperoni roll helps Rogers and Mazza Bakery continue to be a contender for business with Sheetz.

“I would like to thank all the West Virginians that stood by us during this. Without them, there’s no way this would ever happen. We’d have probably been out of a big account with having to lay off people,” Dennis Mazza predicted.

The bakery brings in more than $500,000 annually by supplying to those Sheetz stores, the Mazzas estimated.

The statement from Sheetz touched on the commitment of the company to the state. It lists 52 store locations in the state that employ 1,400 workers.

It read: “Our passion for the state of West Virginia has led us to select Morgantown as the flagship market for our new Sheetz store concept that was opened last fall. Additionally, our passion enables us to provide donations to local food banks and in 2014 we donated more than $100,000 in financial and in-kind product donation support to our West Virginia communities.”

That is also part of what caught the Mazzas off guard they said.

“We made lots of donations to the Pittsburgh area stores as far as pepperoni rolls go. They’ve already asked me this year to do it again. That’s no problem. It’s for needy children. We actually donate back to their company as well,” responded Dennis Mazza.

The Mazzas said they had been anticipating supplying even more Sheetz stores with their handmade pepperoni rolls.

“The managers, the district managers, the employees, they like having our product as well. It’s just a shame that when corporate makes a decision, sometimes it is the wrong decision. I hope they realize that,” Dennis Mazza said.

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