One local industry is working hard to help keep loaves of bread on store shelves during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The AB Mauri Fleischmann’s plant in the Greenville Industrial Park manufactures assorted chemical ingredients that are used for leavening, preservation, conditioning and mold inhibition.

“We’ve seen a big increase in our orders,” said Plant Manager Steve Cunningham.

The plant provides the ingredients for use in enzyme-based general-purpose tablets.

Cunningham said, in short, the tablets are a vital part of the overall bread-making process.

He said he agrees with how the plant and its employees are considered “essential” at a time of stay at home orders.

“Typically when you are at home and are hungry, you go and fix a sandwich,” Cunningham said.

The boost in demand for the product came at a convenient time for the plant, which was already scheduled to go down temporarily for routine maintenance.

“We’d built our inventory up for 10 days when we went under,” Cunningham said.

Fortunately, the work only took about six days, meaning the plant had a bit of a surplus on hand when the lines began restarting.

Cunningham said the work has been non-stop ever since.

“We’ve got a great group of people who are willing to do whatever is necessary,” he said of the 40 employees at the plant. “We have 35 who live in Hunt County and five more who come here from neighboring counties.”

Cunningham has worked in Hunt County for 30 years, having been born and raised in Bug Tussle in Fannin County.

“I work for a company that truly cares for people,” Cunningham said.