CLEARFIELD – Clearfield Wholesale Paper recently raised $10,000 to benefit area veterans.
Tom Marasco, a sales representative of CWP, started a new holiday tradition of giving back two years ago when he gave out gifts to children at UPMC Altoona.
Last year he saw a need for both businesses and people impacted by the COVID pandemic.
“I got the company and our vendors involved,” he said in a recent interview.
They raised $3,500, which they used to buy gift cards from local restaurants, which were then given to COVID patients leaving UPMC.
“We wanted to stick to our customers,” he explained.
They helped 75 families of COVID patients as well as the restaurants in this way.
This year their charitable efforts started in October with them asking their vendors to give $300 instead of $100 as they did last year and most complied.
This allowed the vendors to be put on a special flyer of products with a percentage of the profits from sales also going to their fundraising efforts.
There were about 100 items on the flyer with the special sale ending on Dec. 10.
On Wednesday, Dec. 15, they presented a check for $10,000 to the James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center in Altoona.
A “chunk” of the money was raised from sales from the vendor flyer, with more given by the vendors and additional funds from CWP.
And $3,000 of the total will go to gift cards and the other $7,000 to support cancer patients, according to Joel Peterson, owner of the company.
Why did they choose veterans?
Marasco commented that a lot of them in the hospital don’t get to go home for the holidays. Veterans have also been through a lot of difficult situations and he said they wanted to thank them for their service.
Peterson noted that they do business with the medical center, which is the only VA hospital in the area and thought helping veterans was a good choice.
As Marasco said, “if we can, we want to put a smile on somebody’s face”. Our motto is to “try to make a difference.”
Unlike other companies, CWP had a banner year in 2020 because one of their best sellers is disinfectant.
“Everyone needed disinfectants and called us,” Marasco said.
Peterson said money given to schools and early-learning centers for cleaning products led to this boom. However, supply chain problems in 2021 brought them back to earth and now “we are back to where we were in 2019.”
Next year the company will celebrate its 100th anniversary.
CWP was started by Peterson’s great-grandfather, making him the fourth generation involved with the business.
Andrew J. Peterson came from Sweden to the area in the early 1900’s, he said.
The business was initially in Grassflat and sold supplies to the mines’ “company stores”. Many of the items were referred to as odds and ends or “notions”. This included everything from shoe nails to bobby pins, Peterson explained.
The next generation involved in the company was his grandfather and great-uncles, and then eventually his father.
In 2000, Peterson bought out his cousins’ share of the business and later his two brothers.
“I have been the sole owner for five years,” he said.
Today, the company carries “thousands of high-quality sanitary, maintenance, janitorial, floor care, equipment, safety, food service disposables, ice melter and packaging products,” according to information on its Web site.
Its success can be “attributed to three things: customer satisfaction, dedicated employees and excellent products.”
Peterson said the company appreciates the support of the community for all these years.
Special plans are being made for a 100th anniversary celebration in September.