Mark Scarmardo, owner of The Farm Patch says there are two reasons for his success...his customers and his family. But he points out that if his parents hadn't taught him about life and hard work, he wouldn't be the success that he is.
"I give a lot of credit to my mother and my dad for staying with us and try to teach us some values and teach us a work ethic. When we were young, we learned to work. My dad taught us early to work to try to sell vegetables, but we didn't have a lot of things. There was four boys and we lived in the same bedroom," says Scarmardo.
Besides having three brothers, Mark Scarmardo also has two sisters and while they may have learned about hard work from their father, it was their mother who taught them about family.
Mark's mother, Jo-Be Scarmardo says, "We've been a close knit family. I know that God has blessed our family."
And that closeness has been rewarded because for close to 40 years, the fruits of his labor have blessed him with having a successful and thriving business.
Scarmardo says, "When we started we were raising vegetables. We were raising okra and we had to go sell it so we'd go to Houston, we'd go to Milano where they had a big fruit stand and try to sell it and if we didn't sell it, we brought it back, we didn't have any money. An old Greek told me once that his grandfather said and I always remember it, I think it's really good. He said, Mark, he had an accent. He said, Mark, get a one stick, break it. He gave me a stick and I broke it. He said now put five sticks together, try to break and he put five sticks and I couldn't break it. He said remember, together you cannot break, you're strong and so, I remember that. Even in your family, if you stick together, you're gonna be a stronger entity."
When most people measure success in dollars, Mark's happiness comes from seeing his fruits and vegetables fill others with joy.
"When my daughter was going to get married, since we're in the produce business, we thought it would be very neat to have produce with flowers. She liked white so we had white cauliflower and white roses and we just tried to tie it in." says Scarmardo.
While his love for family is important, there's something else Mark Scarmardo never forgets.
Scarmardo says, "My main concern when a customer comes in is to make them happy. Then, you worry about making your profit and a lot of times people have it flip-flopped. They worry about their money and they don't worry about the customer and I've always said, if you don't have the customer, you don't have to worry about the money because it's not going to be there."
After years of being in the produce business, Mark's customers keep coming back and as for his family, they continue to grow stronger and closer.