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SEED selects Taunton distribution co. as 'Small Business of Year'

TAUNTON, Mass. (November 24, 2010)—Food distributor, Rich's Transportation Services Inc. of Taunton, has been selected as the South Eastern Economic Development Corporation's 2010 "Small Business of the Year," SEED announced recently.

The cold storage warehousing and food distribution company, which has customers throughout New England, has seen sales grow by 30 percent to $6.5 million over the last four years, according to a released statement. Employment has doubled in that time frame and Rich's Transportation now employs 47 full-time individuals.

John Sullivan, Richard Sullivan and Peter Clougherty, principals of Rich's Transportation Services, have over 60-years of combined experience in the perishable food distribution industry, SEED said.

The trio purchased the business in 1995 and have expanded it from a trucking company that served southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod, to a full service warehousing and distribution operation serving all of New England.

In 2003, SEED provided Rich's Transportation Services with a $1.3 million loan under the SBA 504 Program in conjunction with financing from Bristol County Savings Bank. The financing allowed the company to purchase land and build a 48,000-square-foot freezer facility in the Myles Standish Industrial Park in Taunton. Again in 2008, SEED provided the company with a $934,000 SBA 504 loan to purchase leased property and expand operations.

Today, the company operates 280,000 square-feet of warehouse space at three locations — two in the Taunton industrial park and one in Canton.

"Rich's Transportation Services provides an excellent example of entrepreneurship, and sound management," said Maria Gooch-Smith, SEED's executive director. "The small business has grown by specializing in refrigerated and dry product warehousing and transportation services, and allowing customers to focus on sales."

Despite the economy, SEED had a good funding year, according to Gooch-Smith.

"Although the region is still recuperating from the great recession, SEED made 111 small business loans in 2010, totaling $27 million and creating 571 new jobs," said Gooch-Smith, adding that SEED's active portfolio of small business loans is now $116 million.

SEED's Nominating Committee selected Rich's Transportation Services from a pool of 350 candidates. Criteria for the selection included enhancement of the region's economy through creation of jobs, and financial performance.

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