Sunshine International Foods, Inc. is a family-owned corporation, based in, and operating continuously from, Methuen, MA, and has been providing high quality Mediterranean foods and products to the public since 1958.
When Emile S. Maroun, arrived in the United States in 1972 from Lebanon, he never anticipated that he and his future wife would become successful entrepreneurs by expanding their family bakery and opening Sunshine International Foods. It all started in 1977 when Emile and Georgette began working at Georgette’s father’s bakery, George’s Bakery, named after her father George Cherabie, which he started in 1958 after migrating from Lebanon in 1952. By using old world baking practices, word quickly spread among the populist of Lawrence, MA and Essex County about the delicious Mediterranean breads that were being baked by George’s Bakery.
Subsequently, Emile purchased George’s Bakery in 1981 when the bakery was offering a few products and began to expand the footprint of the bakery by adding ethnic groceries, olives, cheeses and other specialty foods. Now being responsible for the day-to-day operations of the bakery, Emile and Georgette quickly realized that through hard work and perseverance, they too, could share in the “American Dream.” Their children, George, Emile Jr., and Jennifer all worked at George’s Bakery during the summer vacations and during the busy holiday seasons, learning hands-on how to run and operate a family business.
Now, George’s Bakery offers over 2000 products from fresh baked goods to tahini to dipping oils, noodles and pickled products imported from across the Mediterranean region. Building upon their early success at George’s Bakery and with their frustration of tahini paste product recalls from abroad, Emile and Georgette decided to open Sunshine International Foods to manufacture their own branded line of tahini paste in the United States. Before that could happen, they needed to find a location big enough to house the manufacturing space needed for Sunshine International Foods. After visiting several buildings in Essex County, Emile found a 30,000 square foot building in Methuen, MA which became the headquarters and manufacturing facility for Sunshine International Foods, Inc.
Today, Sunshine International Foods produces a branded line of high quality pasteurized tahini pastes that come in seven delicious flavors that include: Roasted, Light Roast, Olive Oil, Honey, Garlic, Cajun and Chocolate. Each flavor is rich in proteins and vitamins, made with no additives or preservatives, peanut free, Trans fat free, gluten free, Kosher Certified and Non-GMO. Sesame King Tahini pastes are made from 100% pure ground sesame seeds. The sesame seeds are shipped directly from the farms to Sunshine International Foods and then sifted, hulled, roasted and ground to perfection. Each Sesame King Tahini is all-natural, with a subtle, delightful aroma, rich with texture and delicious taste. Sunshine International Foods mechanically hulls its sesame seeds, meaning no chemicals or hulling agents are used during the manufacturing process and every batch of tahini is analyzed for quality in their own in-house lab.
In 2000, after graduating from the University of Massachusetts, George Maroun became the third generation of the family to enter full time into the family business. George’s first task was to setup the manufacturing process while starting to grow the company and increase sales. Then in 2003, after graduating from Merrimack College, Emile Jr. also entered into the family business to oversee the day-to-day operation and financial activity of Sunshine International Foods. Subsequently, Jennifer Maroun also joined the company after graduating from Merrimack College. Jennifer is now the office manager and is responsible for all customer service for the family business.
All three children have an unyielding commitment to maintaining the family tradition and providing their customers with the highest quality bakery products and tahini that will grow the business for the next generation of family to come.
Now with Emile’s children firmly entrenched into the family business, together they have expanded the business by increasing product distribution of both George’s Bakery products and Sesame King Tahini pastes throughout the United States. They have also been responsible for bringing in state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment and developed a proprietary manufacturing process and proprietary pasteurization process that no other manufacturer can duplicate. Sesame King Tahini pastes are the only pasteurized tahini paste on the market today.
Sesame King Tahini pastes can be found in Whole Food Markets, Market Basket, Restaurant Depots and many other fine markets and specialty health food stores throughout the Northeast. George’s Bakery pita breads are a staple in leading supermarkets all across New England and continues to grow.
Sunshine International Foods produces 15 tons of tahini daily and projects to double that amount in the coming years. The children enacted a greening process to reduce the company’s carbon footprint by adding energy saving lighting, recycling of all plastic and cardboard products and finding other uses of byproducts instead of disposing them. They are also investigating how advantageous using solar power could be used in powering the manufacturing line.
Successful family businesses have a reputation of prospering in the first generation, then being run into the ground by the second generation. However, the Maroun family has shattered that negative image as it pushes well into its third generation of family ownership.
“We are very blessed to have been raised with such strong work ethics and to have the opportunity to learn and prosper from our family before us. Now, it’s up to us to continue the family tradition for the next generation,” stated Emile Maroun, Jr.
Proudly, 47 years later, it’s still George’s, Emile’s and Georgette’s passion and values that still drives the family business today.