Three Local Companies Working Together to Protect 90 Local Jobs

Three Local Companies Working Together to Protect 90 Local Jobs



For Immediate Release: July 14, 2020
(Update of Release from June 15, 2020)

How a pandemic unexpectedly put a small family business and jobs for people with developmental disabilities at risk…and how a little imagination can save their year.

Through Labor Day, locally and family-owned St. Louis grocery chain, Dierbergs Markets is partnering with American Carnival Mart (ACM) and Canterbury Enterprises in an attempt to sell 3.5 million colorful eggs filled with wrapped candy across each of the chain’s 25 stores and online through ACM at funcarnival.com.

While it might be an unusual time of year to see colorful candy-filled eggs at the grocery store, these three companies are counting on the support, and imaginative thinking of the community to help protect more than 90 local jobs.

The COVID-19 impact to business closures and event cancellations proved detrimental this year to American Carnival Mart, a Creve Coeur, Missouri based family-owned business, which depends on Easter egg sales each spring to support their business throughout the year. Additionally, ACM partners with Canterbury Enterprises, a local sheltered workshop, employing people with developmental disabilities in St. Louis County and City, to fill these eggs with wrapped candy each year for ACM.

To help both of these operations, Dierbergs Markets is selling eggs filled with wrapped candy in stores through Labor Day (September 7th, 2020). “We would appreciate the community’s help to protect local jobs for these individuals with developmental disabilities,” said Bob Dierberg, Chairman, Dierbergs Markets. “Dierbergs will absorb any labor and other expenses so all proceeds of the eggs will go directly back to ACM and Canterbury Enterprises.” When purchased at any Dierbergs location, a 50-count egg package is available for $6.50.

“ACM has been devastated by the COVID-19 shut down,” said Mark Haug, Chief Operating Officer and General Manager at American Carnival Mart. “Easter eggs are almost 50% of our business. We were on track to set another record in sales throughout the United States which came to a quick halt when egg hunts were cancelled throughout the country.” In addition to Easter business, St. Patrick’s Day, Spring and Summer Carnival and St. Louis souvenir business was lost due to the virus outbreak this spring.

Canterbury Enterprises relies on the wrapped candy-filled egg business from ACM year-round to help employ more than 90 individuals with develomental disabilities. “Our ‘Easter Bunny Helpers’ love filling the Easter eggs, taking pride in what they do every day and look forward to their job,” said Charlie Fischer, Executive Director for Canterbury Enterprises. “We have provided reliable and safe employment for people with disabilities for more than 35 years. Filling these eggs is a big part of their work each year. Losing these sales means there are no eggs to fill for the 2021 season, meaning we may be forced to lay off up to half of our employees. We are hoping to support them any way we can.”

“We are thankful for this opportunity with Dierbergs,” Haug said. “With the right imagination, these candy-filled eggs can be enjoyed all summer long. These can provide a fun activity to keep kids entertained with summer treasure hunts for family weekend events, birthdays, or fun back-to-school activities.”

The response from the St. Louis area, surrounding counties and the Lake of the Ozarks communities has been outstanding. In the first four weeks, Dierbergs sold more than a half million eggs. Additional thanks to people sharing the story on social media, as well as local TV and radio news support. “The support has been incredibly appreciated,” said Dierberg. The company notes, however, this is only about 15% of the goal of 3.5 million. In past years, 90% of ACM eggs were sold outside the metro St. Louis area. Now, we are encouraging St. Louisans to share this story to friends and relatives outside our metro area.

In addition to the 50-count size you can purchase in store, ACM sells large case quantities online at funcarnival.com, perfect for schools and organizations on funcarnival.com. Now through Labor Day, they will ship for FREE to any state in the continental US, as a one-time special offer.

[Photo: Allison smiling as she worked to fill eggs with candy for American Carnival Mart.] | Click to tap to see full-size image [Photo: A display of candy-filled eggs from American Carnival Mart at Dierbergs.] | Click to tap to see full-size image [Photo: Marcus smiling as he worked to fill eggs with candy for American Carnival Mart.] | Click to tap to see full-size image
Click or tap to see full-size image.

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American Carnival Mart is a fourth-generation family-owned St. Louis-based carnival supply store specializing in providing wholesale toys and novelties for School and Church Carnivals, Company Picnics, Festivals & Events.

Canterbury Enterprises was established in 1983 as a non-profit 501-3(c) sheltered workshop employing people with disabilities in St. Louis County and City. Their mission is “to provide employment and supports to individuals with disabilities in an environment which promotes dignity, encourages independence, and empowers personal goal attainment while offering quality services to the business community.”

Dierbergs Markets traces its roots to a country store founded in 1854 in West St. Louis County. Four generations have managed the company, which had only one location until 1967. Today, Dierbergs employs more than 4,000 Associates in 24 St. Louis metropolitan-area stores and one location at Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks


Media Contacts:
Mark Haug
COO and General Manager, American Carnival Mart
314-991-6818 or mark @ funcarnival.com

Charlie Fischer
Executive Director, Canterbury Enterprises
314-781-3999 or cfischer @ canterburyinc.org

Jamie Collins
Dierbergs Markets
636-532-8884 or collinsj @ dierbergs.com