2018 was a big year for Martin’s—one filled with exciting adventures, new “firsts,” and lots of love and support from our fans, customers, and the media. This New Year’s Eve, we wanted to reflect on our favorite memories of the past year, as we look forward to the next. With no further ado, here are our 18 Top Moments of 2018, with commentary from members of our marketing team!
In early December, Jim Martin, president of Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe, Inc. was recognized as the 2018 “Business Person of the Year” by the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce. This award is given annually by the Chamber to recognize one leader in the community for their business experience, exceptional accomplishments, community involvement, and contribution to the economic growth and development of the area.
Read the full press release here: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/president-of-martins-potato-rolls-receives-award-300765845.html
“Mr. Martin is one of the sweetest, most deserving people and I love seeing people who deserve to get awarded, get awarded.” – Katie Henry (KH); Marketing Campaign Manager
“Mr. Martin is so well-deserving of this award. He is such a kind and generous man; we at Martin’s recognize him as such and it is great to see the community acknowledge this as well.” – Rebecca Vega (RV); Marketing Specialist
“It is an honor to work with the Martin family. Mr. Martin has created an incredible business with a caring family culture. We are all a part of the extended Martin family! Our community is better because the Martins are here and it is amazing to see, and hear, Jim be acknowledged for his contributions and leadership….and it makes me very sentimental to hear all the ‘hometown pride’ accolades for Martin’s Potato Rolls.” – Wendy Cowan (WC); Marketing Manager
When planning for 2018, we realized we have almost the same number of products as there are months in the year! It gave us the perfect framework to feature a different product each month—complete with custom recipes, fun facts, and special blogger-curated content.
Check out the complete list of Product Highlight blogs below, along with callouts on our favorite ones.
February: Martin’s 100% Whole Wheat Potato Bread
March: Martin’s Dinner Potato Rolls
April: Martin’s Hoagie Rolls
“I especially loved this one because it not only gave us the chance to promote our #1 product, it also provided a great way to feature many of the restaurants who use this product, as well as quotes from our ‘raving fans.’ When we shared the content on social media, we even had our fans commenting about other restaurants they know use our bread and roll products!” – RV
“These were my three favorite new food styling pics from 2018!” – KH (regarding the Brown Butter Burgers, Pulled Pork with Sweet Corn Slaw, and Blackened Chicken Sandwich with Cajun Mayo recipes)
“Love [the Sandwich Potato Rolls recipe highlight video]…we have delicious videos!” – WC
“I like the structure of highlighting one recipe every day. We did this in the past for Grilled Cheese Month and it’s a fun way to engage our followers on social media and share creative content with them. With July being National Hot Dog Month, it was the perfect time to post “a hot dog a day” on our Long Potato Rolls. Plus—I’m a big fan of hot dogs and creative toppings, so this blog was a lot of fun to put together.” – RV
“The Peach Salsa Dogs were such a delicious & perfect combo with two of my summer favorites: sweet salsa & hot dogs!” – Stephanie Lehman (SL); Marketing Coordinator
“The BLT Dogs were super yummy, and one of my favorite pictures we shot this year!” – KH
September: Martin’s Potato Bread
November: Martin’s Potatobred Stuffing
December: Martin’s Party Potato Rolls
Every three years Martin’s hosts a “family picnic,” which more closely resembles a small carnival, at both of their bakery locations. This year’s picnic in Chambersburg took place in early September. Despite one day of the picnic being canceled due to extreme rain and flooding, employees and their families still had a blast participating in the custom carnival games, tours, inflatables, an escape room, raffle prizes, live music and entertainment, and a nightly fireworks display, plus a variety of food from local restaurant vendors!
Read more about the picnic here.
To see more pictures from the Martin’s Family Picnic, check out our album on Facebook.
“This was a lot of fun even though it got rained out. It really shows the spirit of our company!” –WC
“Despite being rainy, it was still fun! My favorite new addition this year was the taco food truck!” – KH
“The picnic is a great chance to show appreciation to our employees. It also shows support for employees’ families and allows them to get an inside look at where their loved one works. As employees, we talk about being an ‘ambassador for Martin’s’ and this picnic exemplifies our company’s values and is one of the many reasons I’m proud to work here and promote our company and our products.” – RV
Each year, Martin’s attends a number of food industry trade shows, often in strategic future markets. These shows allow us to connect with industry professionals and potential food service customers as a way to grow the food service segment of our company. These shows also provide a great occasion for the Martin’s team to stop by some of the restaurants in these regions that use Martin’s rolls and bread for their menus and chat with the staff or sample their delicious food on Martin’s products!
The food service division of our company is fastest growing segment for Martin’s and this blog series was a great way to show some love to our food service customers by listing their restaurants as recommended places to visit while in certain cities!
Scan back through the blogs below to discover great places to eat in each city!
“Fantastic Restaurants—The Loyalist, Burgerim, Shake Shack, Black Tap, Good Stuff Eatery—just to name a few! I enjoy meeting and talking to chefs who use and love our products. I absolutely admire their creativity and culinary skills.” – WC
“It’s always fun to have the excuse to eat ‘ridiculously’ because your team is writing a blog about the restaurant.” – KH
SOBEWFF and NYCWFF: Winning Chefs Used Martin’s Rolls!
Martin’s had the opportunity to provide rolls to chefs at both the South Beach Wine and Food Festival in February and the New York City Wine and Food Festival in October, two premier food events held annually by the Food Network and Cooking Channel.
At popular events such as the famed “Burger Bash,” where chefs compete for the title of ‘best burger,’ during both festivals, chefs/restaurants served up delicious creations on Martin’s Potato Rolls, including some of the winning chefs!
Read about some of the chefs from SOBEWFF who are local to Miami.
Check out this recap of the NYCWFF.
Shake Shack Retreat
Martin’s was invited to attend Shake Shack’s employee retreat in May. Wendy and Julie spent some time there and even led a session that included a sandwich competition. They had a fantastic time meeting Shake Shack managers from all over, and chatting with Danny Meyer, Randy Garutti, other members of the leadership team, and local restaurant managers. Overall it was a great event and we are very grateful for this partnership and happy to be Shake Shack’s bun provider!
Watch a recap video of the event.
“This event was a great way to strengthen our relationships and raise brand ambassadors. Shake Shack people are cool!” – WC
This year, Martin’s was proud to be the presenting sponsor of Beyond the Plate, a podcast from Andrew “Kappy” Kaplan in which he sits down with the world’s culinary elite to explore their journey into the industry and the social impact they have made in their community.
Read more about Beyond the Plate.
We published this blog post in late June, about a week and a half shy of July 4th as a way to celebrate our country. When we think about America as a whole, it is difficult to describe it in words because each state is so different and unique and we wanted to showcase that from the perspective of food and cultural traditions. This expansive list showcasing recipes for each U.S. state shows how diverse and indescribably beautiful our country truly is.
Read the blog: https://potatorolls.com/blog/50-summer-grilling-recipes
“This blog post took a while to put together but I am so happy with the way it turned out. I learned so much by researching each state, many of which I have never been to, while looking for favorite barbecue and grilling traditions. It makes me want to go on a road trip!” – RV
“Food is a huge part of culture, so it was really cool to see how even in our one country, all 50 states have a different take on BBQ, a summer favorite.” – SL
We really wanted to showcase the Martin family this year since each member has a unique story and perspective of how Martin’s has impacted their lives, and what they envision for the company’s future. We tried a new format this year by recording video interviews with each family member.
We started the year off with a New Year’s blessing from Martin’s President Jim Martin, as he shared his hopes for the coming year. We think it’s safe to say many of them came true and we are all looking forward to many more years to come! See the full interview here: https://potatorolls.com/blog/new-years-qa-jim-martin.
Next, we interviewed Jim’s wife, Donna Martin in honor of Mother’s Day. She shared with us some lessons learned from her parents as well as her hopes for her children and advice for other mothers. Check it out at: https://potatorolls.com/blog/mothers-day-qa-with-donna-martin
“I love Mrs. Martin’s outlook on life. It was really fun to capture on video.” – KH
For Father’s Day, we interviewed Tony and Joe Martin, sons of Jim and Donna and both vice presidents at Martin’s. Even though we interviewed them each separately, we asked them the same series of questions and it was really interesting to see their answers side by side. Watch the complete interview at: https://potatorolls.com/blog/fathers-day-interview
While not a video interview, we asked Julie Martin to write us a special Thanksgiving blog sharing some memories of her family’s traditions as well as things she is thankful for. As a professional writer (and our social media manager), she happily obliged. We love the candid and heartfelt stories she described and the way she epitomized the meaning of the holiday. Check out her post at: https://potatorolls.com/blog/a-thanksgiving-blog.
9. Blog: Colorful Food Party
On our blog, we often try to highlight interesting trends in the culinary world. One of the most fun trends to recreate was that of “unicorn toast” (or mermaid/rainbow/galaxy/etc. toast). The basic idea is to add different shades of food coloring to a neutral base such as cream cheese, spread it onto toast in interesting patterns. Our team had tons of fun making their own unique creations and coming up with names for each afterwards. For the blog, themed “Colorful Food Party,” we also created a vibrant Rainbow Grilled Cheese recipe.
Get the recipes at: https://potatorolls.com/blog/colorful-food-party
“Crafts with the entire department! So much fun. :)” – KH
“This is real life. As a mom (or Mimi) you need ways to include kids in the kitchen. Edible crafts are a fantastic rainy day activity.” – WC
We love building new relationships with bloggers and social media influencers in our food industry circle. They always have unique perspectives and come up with really creative recipes. This year we thought our monthly product highlight blogs (mentioned above) would be a perfect opportunity to each pair with custom recipe by a food blogger.
Check out the 12 featured recipes using one of Martin’s products, along with some commentary of our team members’ personal favorites!
- Cuban Sliders on Martin’s 12-Sliced Potato Rolls – by Dinner at the Zoo
- Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches on Martin’s 100% Whole Wheat Potato Bread – by Flavor the Moments
- Slow Cooker Honey-Sriracha Chicken Sliders on Martin’s Dinner Potato Rolls – by The Cozy Cook
- Barbecue Meatball Hoagies on Martin’s Hoagie Rolls – by Miss in the Kitchen
- Green Chile Queso Burger on Martin’s Sandwich Potato Rolls – by Jess Pryles (a.k.a. Hardcore Carnivore)
- Korean Fried Chicken Sandwiches on Martin’s Big Marty’s Rolls – by Shared Appetite
- Philly Cheesesteak Hot Dog on Martin’s Long Potato Rolls – by Taste and See
- Rainbow Veggie Sandwich on Martin’s Butter Bread – by Morgan Manages Mommyhood
- Apple Brie Turnovers on Martin’s Potato Bread – by Lemon Tree Dwelling
- Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding with Martin’s Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Potato Bread – by Mother Thyme
- Oven-Baked Stuffed Pork Chops with Martin’s Potatobred Stuffing – by The Cozy Cook
- Crab Rangoon Crostini on Martin’s Party Potato Rolls – by Snappy Gourmet
“My favorites were Cuban Sliders by Dinner at the Zoo and Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding by Mother Thyme!” – KH
“We have some amazing delicious content from bloggers….Apple Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding with ice cream is my favorite! It made me a ‘star’ at Thanksgiving!” – WC
“All the recipes look and sound amazing but I am most craving Jess Pryles’ Green Chile Cheeseburger and Shared Appetite’s Korean Fried Chicken Sandwiches! I’m a spicy food lover and pretty adventurous eater and those both look delicious!!” – RV
We took a different direction than usual with this blog by highlighting the members of our marketing team, who are usually “behind the camera” rather than in the spotlight. This format allowed us to show all the steps that go into our recipe and blog creation, from research to cooking, food styling, and photographing. In addition, we emphasized the important fact that we cook (and taste) the food the same way we would expect our customers to. This ensures we are only recommending recipes to our fans and customers that we have tried and tested.
For this behind-the-scenes blog, we featured colorful, vibrant recipes made using seasonal produce like fresh citrus, herbs, and veggies.
“Awwwhhh…I love our team! So glad we got to show this behind-the-scenes look.” – WC
“I love that all of our food photography is made right here by our team! It’s one of the many things that make us unique, because we actually give the consumer a recipe that we’ve made and tried, so you know it’s good!” – SL
For many of our blogs, we try to highlight unique recipe trends (like the “Unicorn Toast” mentioned above.) The reason for this is two-fold: 1) food is a form of art, and we like to showcase recipes that inspire us to be creative and think outside the box, and 2) we know it can be hard to think of new recipes to try for special occasions, so we try our hardest to be a go-to recipe hub for people to find new ideas, using Martin’s products of course!
Here are a few of our favorite trends we covered this year:
Pizza will always be a top favorite food. We got creative with some of these recipes, for National Pizza Month, making things like Customizable Pizza Cups and Pizza Toast!
— “Why? Because Pizza. The pizza cups are so yummy” – KH
Flowers galore! We highlighted flowers in so many ways with this blog, from flower look-alike garnishes like strawberry roses and lily-shaped tea sandwiches, to floral-infused flavors like lavender and poppy seeds. We also shared a list of edible flowers and garnishes you can add to your dishes for an extra pop of color and surprise.
— “I love how pretty this turned out!” – KH
A fun twist on a classic breakfast dish, for the savory food lover! We showed two delicious recipes for making French toast using savory ingredients like bacon, herbs, cheese, and hollandaise sauce.
— “This is by far one of the most creative recipes I’ve seen. What a delightful change of breakfast pace for a savory-lover like me!” – SL
For this blog, we wanted to show the amount of love and care (and science!) that goes into making our bread and roll products. We chose some frequently asked questions that we receive and interviewed our Product & Quality-Assurance Manager for the answers. It is a fun and interesting change of pace to cover topics that many people may not know much about. We hope you enjoyed this inside look at the baking process. If you didn’t get to read it, check it out here: https://potatorolls.com/blog/science-of-baking. You may also be interested in our Bread Storage Dos and Don’ts blog.
“All our rolls are made with careful choosing of ingredients and great attention to detail with our customers in mind. So, why not highlight the process that makes our beloved rolls so great?” – SL
It’s always fun to come up with new recipes using Martin’s Rolls and Bread. We really enjoy testing out creative ideas and sharing them with all of you!
Take a look at some of the Marketing Team’s favorite recipes from the past year!
Ploughman’s Sandwich – St. Patrick’s Day
— “This was my favorite recipe! So good! I want one now.” – WC
— “Everyone raved about this sandwich…which I thought was going to be the weirdest thing ever. I love making other departments happy with food from our test kitchen.” – KH
— “I had fun researching the history behind this and learning more about Irish and Irish-American culture. It was also something different from the typical St. Patrick’s Day recipes we’re used to seeing, a bit more authentic.” – RV
Stuffins (Stuffing + Muffins)
— “I love things with cute names and these were awesome. So good in fact that I made some for my Friendsgiving party.” – KH
Pecan Pie Bread Pudding
— “I didn’t think I liked pecans…but this changed my mind. This is amazing” – KH
— “These were a unique idea. We didn’t have a mixer so we beat these eggs by hand, and really got our arm workout in haha.” – KH
Butternut Squash Flatbread
— “If you think you don’t like squash, try this it was delicious.” – KH
The concept of “farm to table” is heard a lot in the restaurant world to express the freshness of the ingredients. We took this trend and added new meaning to it: in Chambersburg, PA, where our headquarters is located, we are surrounded by many farmers’ markets and small-town farms and grocers. We are proud of our quiet, rural town and wanted to highlight a few of these farms and markets that work so hard to provide us all with delicious fresh produce. After all, Martin’s did start off selling to local farmers’ markets back in its infancy!
“Buying local produce is a great way to learn about your community. And, as a farmer’s wife, I love when local farms and farmer’s markets get their time in the spotlight!” – SL
“I loved the Heirloom Tomato Whole Wheat Tart recipe! So yummy!” – WC
Image from Facebook
A fan shared with us a story on Facebook of how one of Martin’s over-the-road drivers showed kindness to his daughter Cheyanne (who’s a big fan!) by spending some extra time with her on his stop and giving her a special Martin’s apron. We always love hearing from our fans, and especially appreciate this act of kindness on the parts of both Cheyanne and Mr. Jay.
Read the full story at: https://www.facebook.com/MartinsPotatoRolls/posts/2028295940543592
We’re always grateful when others recognize the quality of our products and we don’t take these comments for granted. Thank you to our raving fans, customers, and those who love Martin’s enough to become “brand ambassadors” and recommend us to others. Thank you!
Here are some of our favorite news-worthy mentions of 2018!
“Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe, Inc. has the highest bread and roll sales in the New York metropolitan market. According to 52-week IRI sales data ending June 17, 2018, Martin’s Sandwich Potato Rolls, Martin’s Long Potato Rolls, and Martin’s Potato Bread hold the first, second, and third place, respectively, for highest dollar sales in the entire fresh bread and roll category.”
Best Potato Hamburger Bun – Delish
“Martin’s we adore thee. Your buns are perfect: Buttery and sweet, never gummy or stale. (But seriously, how are they always so fresh?!) These buns have the power to elevate any backyard burger to gourmet status. The burger of my dreams consists of a super-thin patty, melty cheese, and a Martin’s roll.”
“Consider the bun— The bun shouldn’t be an afterthought. A bad bun can ruin all of your other efforts…’The bun should just be the toasty vehicle to get the burger into your mouth, however sesame seed is a nice flavor addition,’ says Corey. Try what Whitener calls the king of all buns, Martin’s Potato Roll. ‘It’s sweet, soft, fluffy, and somehow never falls apart when [you’re] eating it.'”
The Best Way to Grill a Burger – Washington Post
“Serve on a soft bun. To Michael McDearman, a judge for the World Burger Championship, the bun is the second-most important consideration after the choice of meat. ‘When you bite into the bun, you should not have to unhinge your jaw,’ he says. ‘It should have enough substance to hold what you put on [the burger]. It should complement. When I bite into it, I want to get every flavor of that bite.’ Shake Shack uses resilient, pillowy Martin’s potato rolls. Just sayin’.”
Carla Makes Smashburgers – Bon Appetit
Watch Carla from Bon Appetit make homemade smashburgers using Martin’s Potato Rolls! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpnshdmtE2Y
What Is the Perfect Burger? – Esquire
“It’d definitely be a Martin’s Potato Roll toasted with butter, two thin patties, a light schmear of thousand island, American cheese, and grilled onions. [At Chefs Club Counter] we do a combo of thousand island: We put a little bit of dijon mustard in so it has a twang on it.”
See more at: https://potatorolls.com/famous-indeed
As we wrap up 2018, we are also so grateful to our fans for their support, loyalty, and love for our products. We are blessed with the continued success of Martin’s Old-Fashioned Real Butter Bread, which launched in January 2017, and are excited to see this product in the hands and households of our consumers.
This year also saw a bold packaging change for our Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Potato Bread in the form of a vibrant, purple hue. We are hopeful that this eye-catching new packaging will encourage even more customers to try this product that we at Martin’s love so very much. (Read more about it here).
Finally, at the very close of the year, we saw the launch of some brand-new breakfast bread flavors in our test market of South-Central PA. With more test markets to come in early 2019, we are excited to see how our fans and customers react to these delicious new breads! Learn more at: https://martinsbreakfastbreads.com.
Happy New Year!
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