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The St. Louis suburb's businesses face enormous challenges
Fruitcake may be the butt of many a joke, but it's serious business for the Parker family. Their company, Claxton Fruit Cake, churns out 5 million pounds of fruitcake a year from its Claxton (Ga.) factory. The 20-employee company has been baking the holiday staple since August, which it sells to supermarkets and fundraising organizations, and online. The traditional fruitcake, 70% fruit and nuts (by weight), is the Parkers' sole product. In 2010 the company will celebrate its centennial. "We always have fruitcake on our table," says Dale Parker, who owns the $12.5 million business with his brothers, Mid and Paul, and his sister, Betty Smith. "But we have free samples out all the time, so very seldom does a day go by that I don't stick my hand in the fridge for a taste. I'm my own best customer."