East Texas business became blessing to customers during pandemic

Updated: Mar. 31, 2021 at 10:25 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - An East Texas business that started almost by accident turned out to be a blessing to many who struggled during the pandemic.

Driving through Gladewater, you come upon a curious sign for ‘Sasquatch’s Trading Post’ on Highway 80. Owner and retired police officer and auctioneer Martin Pessink started the business almost as an afterthought.

“Well, I was buying pallets of cookies, coffee and other things like that to sell at my auctions. And one of the other auctioneers said ‘you know, you’re supposed to have a salvage license.’ And I applied and got a salvage grocers license,” he says.

And that started his business two years ago.

He buys damaged and excess product from food companies, from produce to European cheeses.

They’re items that would normally go in the trash.

“And they would come in boxes about three feet high and the size of a pallet, just full of groceries. The food is still good. It allows a good supply of wholesome food product for the public, and then it took on a life of it’s own,” Martin says.

Selling all of his product at 50 percent or less of its value, he became a go-to for people struggling during the pandemic.

“I discovered real quick people got to eat. At 50 percent of retail, it became very popular for folks on a limited income or feeding large families,” Pessink says.

It’s not a stretch to say it probably saved families from going hungry, something that touches Martin’s heart.

“Our customers are special to us. When somebody comes up and says ‘thank you’, it goes a long way. I think we’re put on this earth to help one another,” he says.

Pessink also donates a portion of what he buys to food pantries.

And the reason the business is called ‘Sasquatch’s Trading Post’?

Martin wears a size ’15′ shoe.

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