Mary Lauderdale, of Mary of Puddin Hill, first was inspired to start her company after giving one of signature fruitcakes to her college home economic professor in 1948.

"If you ever need any extra money, this cake will sell," the teacher replied. Turns out the professor was right.
Lauderdale, who died Tuesday, successfully took the advice.
She and her husband Sam successfully built up the Puddin Hill company and Mary even received Candy Industry’s Kettle Award in 1998 for her work.

The Christmas after receiving the teacher’s advice, Mary and her husband Sam started making fruitcakes in their tiny apartment, according to information on the company’s website. Mary's parents loaned them money to buy the fruit, and friends helped prepare the cakes. Five hundred pounds of fruitcake later, they realized that they might be on to something.

Sam and Mary decided to return to Mary's hometown of Greenville and give the business several years of all-out effort. They converted the laundry room at Mary's parents' home into a small bakery and went to work.

The business grew and, several years later, they were able to purchase a few acres of the Puddin Hill farm to build a new facility.

The couple sold the company to Ken Bain in 1999.

“[Mary] just was a great creator of products and a developer of good, high quality, tasty items,” Bain says. “She was a great asset to the community and a great lady. She’ll really be missed.”

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