Fast-Growing SLT Foods Uses EDA Resources to Establish Permanent Home in South Brunswick
TRENTON (December 8, 2016) – What started with a vision to bring rice from India to local ethnic markets in New Jersey has grown into family-owned and operated SLT Foods, Inc., a South Brunswick-based food distribution company that serves the United States and Canada.
Established in 1994, SLT Food imports basmati rice, tea, lentils, coconut water, herbal products and other ethnic food products and distributes them to wholesale clubs, grocery stores and other food outlets.
In addition to distributing a variety of products, SLT Foods also offers its own blend of rice. Branded “Heritage Select®”, the product mixes brown rice, vegetable jambalaya, Mexican- style zesty cilantro, rosemary olive oil, and basmati rice. Heritage Select has been picked up by major food retailers throughout the country, including Whole Foods, Fresh Market, and Meijer, Inc. Other brands distributed by SLT Foods include Khazana® Basmati Rice products and Tetley Tea.
“Our business’s success is not just the story of a minority-owned business flourishing here in New Jersey,” said SLT Foods Owner Sandip Patel, who runs the business with his wife, Sajel Patel, and his brother, Senjay Patel. “It’s also the story of the growing culinary sophistication of the American consumer. We are thankful to the EDA for its support as we continue to grow and reach even more consumers.”
To accommodate its remarkable growth, SLT Foods, Inc. bought a 75,600-square-foot facility in South Brunswick earlier this year. The purchase was supported by a Santander Bank loan through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s Premier Lender Program, with a 32 percent EDA participation. The Premier Lender Program lowers the cost of borrowing for small businesses through the EDA’s alliance with more than two dozen banking partners. It offers low-cost financing with quick turnaround time from approval to closing, while the EDA’s exposure by participating in or guaranteeing a portion of a loan reduces the lender’s risk. Businesses can use this financing for fixed assets, working capital, and/or the refinancing of other bank debt.
When SLT Foods was approved for its loan in February 2015, the company had nine employees in New Jersey. Its workforce has now more than doubled to 20 employees.
“Family-owned and operated businesses like SLT Foods serve a niche within the community while at the same time create localized jobs,” said EDA Chief Executive Officer Melissa Orsen.
Orsen visited SLT Foods today as part of the EDA’s ongoing efforts to facilitate awareness of the programs it offers to support small and mid-sized businesses and not-for-profits.
The EDA’s activities to promote its programs in support of small businesses are based on the theme “EDA Was Here.” The campaign and new social media presence highlight how organizations like SLT Foods have used the EDA’s financing programs to overcome challenges, meet their needs and grow.
To learn about EDA resources for small businesses and not-for-profits, visit
https://www.njeda.gov/small_midsize_business and follow @NJEDAWasHere on Twitter and LinkedIn.
The EDA is part of the state’s results-driven Partnership for Action. Created by Governor Christie and led by Lt. Governor Guadagno, the Partnership is the hub for all economic development activity in New Jersey and is comprised of four interconnected and highly focused organizational elements: Choose New Jersey, the Business Action Center, the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education and the EDA.
To learn more about opportunities for business growth throughout New Jersey, visit the state’s business portal at www.NewJerseyBusiness.gov or call the Business Action Center at (866) 534-7789.