There’s no denying that Northeast Pennsylvania is home to a variety of long-loved snacks.
From Tastycake treats to Middleswarth chips and even Farmer’s iced tea, one major gripe many residents who move away from the area have is the inability to devour their most beloved local treats.
That’s where Albert Martino and his business comes in.
After experiencing the aforementioned troubles for himself, the Dallas resident and entrepreneur took his e-commerce and marketing background to create Northeast Snacks in 2014.
Martino was one of seven local business owners to compete in the area’s inaugural NEPA Sharks event, which mimicked the ABC hit “Shark Tank,” on Friday at the Woodlands. Hosted by Golden Mile Funding and the Times Leader Media Group, one of the seven business owners walked away with a cool $5,000 at the end of the event.
Launching his initial business, HotIgloo.net, Martino made the move out to Phoenix, Ariz., to focus on growing the website design and marketing platform. It wasn’t long after that he realized the desert was missing some key ingredients.
“The lack of good pizza and snacks in Phoenix was how the idea for Northeast Snacks was really solidified in my mind,” Martino said. “Several years of building and marketing e-commerce websites gave me a pretty good understanding of the industry. So after moving back to NEPA, I decided to move the concept from back burner status to ‘how can I really do this?’”
Northeast Snacks allows for area-only foods to be shipped around the country. It carries all the local favorites such as Middleswarth, Tastycake, Gertrude Hawk and even Pittston Ketchup. Admittedly, a large portion of Martino’s customers are former residents of Northeastern Pennsylvania and the surrounding area who miss their hometown favorites.
Martino explained his next step with Northeast Snacks is to grow its corporate gift business, as well as expand the company and its products. Along with Northeast Snacks, Martino also maintains other area snack sites.
“We also have PhiladelphiaSnacks.com, which is the same concept but with more Philly-centric foods, (and) a much bigger demographic,” he said. “The idea was always to prove the concept here, then branch out in to other larger markets. There’s so many good snacks across the USA!”
The entrepreneur said he found out about the event through social media, and wanted to use the prize money to help streamline packaging and labeling equipment for Northeast Snacks.
Ultimately, Swoyersville-based The Baut Studios walked away with the cash prize; however, Martino said he’s committed to keeping snack lovers across the U.S. happy.
“The best part is simply making people smile with a bit of nostalgia. People have shared many stories of how these certain snacks were a sentimental part of their lives and how happy they are to have access to them again,” he said.
You can find Northeast Snacks on Facebook or at PoconoChocolates.com.