SALISBURY, Md. - A Salisbury man with a mission and vision no one else in the poultry industry had. The year was 1967, the man behind the vision, Frank Perdue.
"That was the beginning of the transition from a commodity to a premium product and that was unheard of, all chickens were just chickens," Jim Perdue recounts.
Perdue was in search of how to produce the best product, a product that the consumers wanted and that's how the Perdue brand began 50 years ago.
Perdue Chairman Jim Perdue says, "He was in the search of excellence also because he was asking people what do you want and we will provide. And it's amazing when you do that they'll give you business."
A simple idea that Perdue still uses today. That idea along with a set of goals focused around people, product, planet, and profitability. But the people aspect is the real kicker to their success.
"The idea that the person who knows the most about their business is that person working in that 25 square feet. That's a concept that people don't think about a whole lot but it's important to us because those people will help you solve a problem if you ask them," explains Perdue.
People like Curtis Michael Jones, one of 600 employees at the Salisbury processing plant. A man who's made a 40 plus career at Perdue, who started on the line packing their product but ended up as supervisor.
"I didn't go to college or anything so right out of high school I started here in 1974. I made a career of it. This has been my only job in life," says Jones.
A job that turned into a career that Jones says helped him prosper in all aspects of life and hopes to be a mentor to young people that they too can be successful.
"I would like to see it continue on people like myself that come along that want to get the best out of life. I have to say you can make a very good living working here and that's what I did."
So what will Perdue do to stay in business this next century? Jim Perdue says they will keep asking the consumer what they want and make changes, like going antibiotic-free and organic.
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