Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Shawn M. Palumbo, vice president of Palumbo Foods, located in Oxford, PA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Palumbo Foods is a mushroom distributor that primarily sells produce to wholesalers.

Tell us about yourself

I grew up around mushrooms. My grandfather grew them for many years when I was a kid, so I am familiar with the business. Seeing the other mushroom companies in the area (the competition), I knew I could do what they were doing at a higher level. What motivates me each in every day is my team. We all come to work with the same mindset, and that is to tackle the workload in front of us.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

One of my biggest accomplishments as an owner is putting the perfect team in place. From top to bottom, we have the best employees around. We all believe in each other!

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

COVID-19 was by far the hardest thing to overcome. Prior to COVID, we were primarily a foodservice distributor, so when COVID struck, we had to react quickly. We bought an Omori Machine to wrap our mushrooms for retail. While it took time to build our retail business, I can PROUDLY say we did not lay off one employee during COVID. If we were gonna go down, we were going down together. Fortunately for all of us, thanks to our hard work, we made it and rebounded in 2021 to have our best year to date.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Lead by example. No one likes a boss. You will get respected so much more by doing so.
  2. Have a weekly meeting with all employees. Keep them involved in company goals. This keeps them motivated and feeling important
  3. Realizing your company is nothing without the employees. I could never do all WE all do each and every day. Treat them well, and they will always have your back. We have a very small turnover ratio when it comes to employees, meaning we barely have quitters!

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

The grind never stops. Stay mentally tough because there will be rough days. Owning a business is not easy, but nothing can get in your way of the goals or dreams you believe in if you have the right mentality!

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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