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Four generations strong, John Gross & Company is all about service

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It was a humble start in business in 1950 for John Gross senior and junior. They began by distributing Maxwell House coffee to Harrisburg area hotels and restaurants out of a rented garage.

"They went pedaling, pound by pound, to where ever they could find someone of interest," said Brian Gross, President of John Gross and Company, speaking about his father and grandfather.

Sixty-two years later, on an 18-acre office and warehouse complex in Mechanicsburg, the company has expanded to include 80 employees, 8-thousand items, and a next door cash and carry outlet food store. But, in this family business, it's about service. So, Brian Gross says it's not unusual for him to answer the phones at the office.

"I say, how else could I get the opportunity to talk to and thank our customers, first hand?, he said. "It shows the customer that I'm not in an ivory tower. We're doing business here. We're servicing customers."

At 90 years old, John Gross, junior, still sets the pace, working in his office and visiting clients. In addition, Brian's sister Diane heads up the sales department. Fourth generation Zach Gross is on board now too, keeping the family tradition going. And the company was recently recognized at its efforts at "working green" by instituting a significant recycling program within their business. Two industrial-size trash compactors are used to crush cardboard and plastic waste into large bales, which are then hauled to a recycling center. It not only helps the environment, it helps keep operational expenses down.

"If I were to take all the cardboard and plastic to my dumpster, said Brian Gross, "it would be two to three-hundred dollars a week more in take-away trash that would go to a landfill."

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