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VOL. 116 | NO. 218 | Friday, November 8, 2002

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Like a lot of success stories, the right idea at the right time fueled Terry Brimhalls pursuit of running a snack food compan

Snack dreams


The Daily News

Like a lot of success stories, the right idea at the right time fueled Terry Brimhalls pursuit of running a snack food company.

Twenty years later, Brims Snack Foods, which manufactures an array of snacks most notably pork rinds is the No. 1 snack food manufacturer/distributor in the Mid-South.

The company has celebrated its official 20th anniversary all year by selling a different product each month at a 20-cent discount.

Brimhall was a college student and food sales distributor when his father, who was in the same business, observed on his work route that a small pork rind manufacturer in Arkansas was doing quite well and had little to no local competition.

Feeling he didnt have much to lose in the investment, the younger Brimhall decided to run with the idea.

His gamble paid off.

It doesnt seem like it has been 20 years, but I guess the dates add up to that, Brimhall said.

Brims Snack Foods began operations in 1979 as a one-truck distributor. It added manufacturing operations in 1982 after 14 months of careful planning and setting up shop.

Its first distribution location was a vacated ham house on U.S. Highway 70 in Ellendale. In 1987, operations were moved to a Bartlett warehouse facility. The company underwent a series of expansions, growing a 19,000-square-foot center into 31,000 square feet, then to 55,000 square feet.

Today, the company is operated from a 77,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. It employs 80 people and distributes snacks to stores in 29 states and its growing.

Without hesitation, Brimhall said it has been the employees who have been the real key to the companys success.

Ounce for ounce, weve got the best people, he said. Im certainly not the smartest person in the world, but I have surrounded myself with the best people. We are a small fish in a big pond, but its the people who have made the difference.

Brimhalls people include his wife, Becki, who was instrumental in getting the company started, and his father, Paul, who began working with Brims Snack Foods in 1986.

In fact, Becki left her job to spend long workday hours with her husband for the first five years of the companys existence up until the point when she gave birth to the first of the couples two sons.

Brimhall described his line of work as quite competitive, not only with companies that manufacture the same types of products, including Frito-Lay and Golden Flake, but any snack item in the store.

Snacks are impulse driven, which include a lot of snack food items, he said, adding it is not just the goal of having the best tasting product, but marketing it with the most attractive display rack.

Early on, Brimhall attributed the companys financial success to a higher presence. He describes it as godly orchestrated.

He maintains a humbling credit to God.

On each product bag, a different Bible verse is printed in order to show people that God gave us the abilities and resources, he said.

He emphasized his moral foundations permeate not just his personal life, but his business transactions, too.

He said it is important to maintain integrity in a rough-and-tumble business world.

In 100 years from now, it wont matter how much business we have handled, but what will matter will be how we conducted ourselves in business, he said with circumspect. There are no merits in being financially successful.

The Brimhalls contribute to a variety of philanthropic endeavors several through their church, Bellevue Baptist including 8th Street Mission for Jesus Christ in West Memphis, Ark., the Memphis Union Mission and Campus Crusade for Christ.

I look back and I wonder what I would have done without the strenuous hard work for five years, he said. I dont think I would be able to physically do that again.

PROPERTY SALES 79 321 2,586
MORTGAGES 90 426 3,033
BUILDING PERMITS 153 796 6,864
BANKRUPTCIES 37 213 2,000