Our History at Carolina Packers
Carolina Packing Company, as it was originally called, was founded in Smithfield, North Carolina by John A. Jones Sr., a native of Claxton, Georgia, and a group of local businessmen on December 12, 1940. Later, in 1941, the name was changed to Carolina Packers Incorporated.
From the very beginning Carolina Packers created a much needed livestock market for Smithfield area farmers, many of whom became charter stockholders in the new company. For the next 50 years we processed locally-grown beef and pork into hams, bacon, country link sausage and our famous family of “Bright Leaf” hot dogs, bologna, red hots and smoked sausage. In 1997 we discontinued slaughtering operations to concentrate our efforts on our Bright Leaf product line.
Often folks who are new to our products ask about the origin of our “Bright Leaf” name. The answer is rooted in our North Carolina agricultural heritage. The area’s rural economy was dominated by tobacco during our early years. In fact the section of US Highway 301, in Smithfield, NC, where our plant is located, has long been known as Brightleaf Boulevard, because of the number of tobacco warehouses that lined the highway through Smithfield during the 1940′s. In addition, many of our customers and suppliers grew tobacco as part of their farming operations, so we adopted this name, along with the tobacco leaf in our logo, to identify with our agricultural heritage.
In March, 1977, Mr. Jones’ son, Buck, became president and remained so until his death in 2005. Buck’s wife, Jean continued to carry on the food service legacy founded almost seventy years ago, until her death in February of 2016.
Today, Kent Denning is the President and manages the Carolina Packer's business. We celebrated our 75th annivesary in 2016 and look forward to another 75 years bringing Bright Leaf Hot dog products to families in North Carolina.
While we have undergone many changes over the years, but we have remained loyal to the traditions that have made us a family favorite on the dinner tables of eastern North Carolinians for more than 75 years. Like our famous Hot Dog recipe, our commitment to providing good tasting, wholesome products, has not and will not change.