Salad Days

If you’ve never stopped by the local grocery store to grab some Mrs. Stratton’s pimento cheese or chicken salad to put out when friends were coming by—or any time you were hungry, and it just looked good—maybe you’re not from here.

The Mrs. Stratton’s tradition originated in the 1950s with its namesake family but was purchased by brothers John and Tom Bradford in the 1970s. The brand has grown exponentially from a small family business into a staple in grocery stores throughout Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Ohio. A significant part of the business also includes sales to restaurants and food-service institutions. (John Bradford passed away in 2010, and his son George is the owner today.)

Still based in Birmingham, with the main facility located here, the company has since added a second production facility and warehouse in Burlington, N.C. In all, Mrs. Stratton’s has a total of 325 employees and more than 150 delivery routes.

Products sold under the Mrs. Stratton’s name—not only pimento cheese and chicken salads but several other products in the “wet salads” category, such as potato salads, cole slaw, and pasta salads—dominate sales in the local market, but the acquisition of other major brands such as Star Foods and Ballard Farms has also allowed the company to expand into other territories as well as new food categories, including stews and chilis, which are primarily manufactured at the Burlington facility.