Suzanna’s Kitchen has come a long way since its beginning in 1960 when Henry and Barbara Howard started their company with just youth, nerve, borrowed money and three employees. With a loan from the C&S Bank, the company was able to build a plant in 1964 by the Commercial Cold Storage facility in DeKalb County and began producing frozen hamburgers and other types of meat products for the food service industry. The largest company was Hardee’s and during that period, the company also supplied hamburgers for a start-up chain called Burger King. All patty products at that time were raw. About 10 years later, Suzanna’s had the opportunity to lease a facility in the same complex formerly occupied by Jeno’s Pizza and at that time, Henry made the decision to go “totally cooked” on all items.
In 1977, their son Brad joined the company which continued to grow, supplying food service distributors mainly in the Southeast. Products were also being sold in most of the large chain store deli’s. In 1985, the company tried to enter the retail market but in less than a year, realized the company was too small to battle the giant food companies. But wonderful opportunities opened up – the “giants” came to Suzanna! We have become one of the top co-packers in the country. Products we now produce – mainly poultry items because that’s what the world eats – are all over the USA. You have all eaten our products – you just don’t know it! We are not recognized by the public but are very well known in the industry.
In 1991, Suzanna’s moved in their new plant on Buford Highway and within five years added on to same. A very large food distributing warehouse was purchased less than two blocks from the Buford Highway location in 2000 and, after modification, this became known as “Suzi 2.”
Since 1992, significant expansion financing was obtained from the Gwinnett County Development Authority via three separate Industrial Revenue Bonds. None of our growth could have been possible without great employees through the years – longevity is our key. Many have retired and currently of the 150 we have on our team, 12 have been with us over 20 years and another 10 with 15 years. Suzanna is proud to be a part of the Gwinnett Community and look forward to continue our growth along with the county.