It's Pennsylvania Farm Show time again. This event is one of the largest indoor agricultural shows in the nation. Over 5000 animals, thousands of farmers and even two dozen wineries will be present during this 7 day show.
Going to that show, one cannot help but think about all that it takes for the foods we consume to make their way from the farm to our freezers and dinner tables. So much goes into the growing, care and harvest of our foods. Whether dairy products, produce or meats, there is a lot of effort and stops before the final food products make it to our plate.
As several of us were discussing all the points that are involved, I realized how many commercial floor coatings projects we have completed that touch these points in the food and beverage process.
Epoxy Coatings at the Dairy and Farms
Since the food cycle starts at the farms, I’ll start there. Over the years, we have installed various types of epoxy coatings at farms and dairies in Pennsylvania. In two goat farms and one dairy cow farm, we installed Novolac epoxies in their milk processing areas. Novolacs are special epoxies that provide extremely high resistance to acid exposure. As the stainless steel storage tanks are cleansed with very acidic cleaners between the storage cycles, having bare concrete or just sealed concrete will end with a pitted, damaged surface that will only get worse as time goes on.
In addition, our coatings play a role at commercial farms in ways that we might not imagine. Another epoxy coating project we completed near Tower City, PA was for the farm’s airplane hangar. The main farm uses the plane to regularly visit other parts of their farming operations. Since they were retrofitting an older out building, this floor finishing project included a fair amount of surface restoration and crack repairs. Installation of a seamless, solid color floor coating comprised of epoxies and polyaspartics makes cleaning and maintaining the aircraft much simpler.
Epoxy Coatings in the Wholesale & Distribution Facilities
Once the produce leaves the farms, it often ends up at distributor warehouses. At one distributor near Baltimore, Maryland, we applied Novolac and other types of epoxies to their warehouse floors. The special acid resistant Novolacs were placed at their fork truck recharge stations, where battery acids commonly spill over onto the floors and, previously, damaged the concrete.
At another distributor in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, we utilized epoxy and other types of polymers to fix damage to their floors that made the all-day forklift traffic in a jarring and equipment damaging experience. In a few hours, our teams had cleaned, filled and leveled these cracks, joints and spalled areas so that forklift traffic was smooth and quiet.
Epoxy Coatings in the Food Processing Plants
When it comes to food processing, state and federal laws mandate that the food processors maintain their floors so that bacteria cannot thrive and contaminate the food stocks. To that end, epoxy coatings are very often the way to seal and protect the floors so that the food processing environment is easy to clean and sterilize.
Over the years, we have installed Novolacs in several facilities that make cheeses. Making cheese is a much more acidic process than most of us would imagine (the actual process and the cleaning agents both present a very caustic, destructive environment for a bare concrete floor). In addition, our coatings have been used at other types of food processing, such as:
- Zook’s Homemade Chicken Pies (Lancaster, Pennsylvania) – our solid color epoxy flooring provides a USDA approved floor for their baking area, food storage, freezers and refrigerators
- Tic Gums (White Marsh, Maryland) – our epoxy coatings protect floors in a location which makes texture and stability products for food processing
Epoxy Coatings in the Supermarkets and Retail Locations
Just like in food processing, a USDA approved flooring solution is critical at supermarkets and other food handling locations. These types of floors vary from just a high solids epoxy, solid color floor coating to decorative quartz and decorative chip coating systems. Some examples of these types of projects we have completed are:
- Glenn Miller’s Western Prime Beef & Deli (Lemoyne, PA) – high build epoxy coatings were installed in their walk in freezers to improve the ease of cleaning over the old tile and bare concrete
- Durdach Brothers (Elysburg, PA) – decorative chip coatings replaced VCT tiles in offices and meeting rooms and solid color coatings were applied to one of the beverage distributor’s warehouse rooms
- Save-A-Lot (Harrisburg, PA) – as part of a store upgrade, our epoxy coatings were applied in storage areas, a walk-in produce storage refrigerator and the meat storage/preparation refrigerator
- Sunnyway Food Markets (Chambersburg & Greencastle, PA) – decorative chip coatings replace older coatings in the bakery and produce preparation areas, as well as new decorative chip coatings replaced the old sheet goods in the one stores main entrance way
- Queensgate Beer Barn (York, PA) – when this new location was being fit-out in the Queensgate plaza, our decorative chip epoxy/polyaspartic coatings were installed for all customer areas and our solid color, epoxy coatings were installed in the warehouse areas
- Little’s Beverage (Columbia, PA) – we already have some coatings in their one storage area and are in discussions to help renovate some of their entrance areas as well
Epoxy Coatings in the Restaurants, Commercial Kitchens & Banquet Halls
At this point, the food and drink are making either in preparation or on the plate. You can see our decorative coatings, metallic epoxies and even some polished concrete projects we completed at locations such as:
- sweetFrog (Carlisle, PA & Westminster, MD) – the frozen yogurt shop in Carlisle has a specialized chip blend we developed specifically for their corporate identity; our crews are currently installing those same chip blends in the epoxy coatings for the new Westminster location
- Frostly Llama (Dillsburg, PA) – metallic epoxies & urethanes adorn this independent, frozen yogurt shop
- Polar Peach (Lancaster, PA) – metallic epoxies with high-wear urethanes renovated this frozen yogurt shop
- Pizza Grille (Camp Hill & Lemoyne, PA) – specialized polished concrete systems fixed failed coating systems in the Camp Hill’s entry, lobby and bar areas; polished & sealed concrete systems gave a much needed facelift to the outdoor seating area at the Lemoyne location
- Dockside Willies (Wormleysburg, PA) – after the flooding in 2012, our 100% solids epoxy coatings were applied in clear (“nude”) to help renovate the water damaged main dining, kitchen, bar and private party areas
- Sophia’s at Walden (Mechanicsburg, PA) – during the construction process, our double-broadcast (high build) decorative chip coatings were installed in the restaurant’s kitchen
- Greencastle Sportsman Association (Greencastle, PA) – our decorative chip, epoxy coatings renovated the banquet hall/main activities room for this private organization
- Boys & Girls Club (Harrisburg, PA) – our decorative chip coatings were installed in the kitchen as part of a facility upgrade (our coatings were used in nearly all areas of the facility except for the gym floor)
Wrapping It Up
As you can see, we get involved in all aspects of the food cycle. I was surprised by how easily it was to name off these examples. While I sometimes struggle to remember all the projects we’ve completed in the past 10 years, the visit to the PA Farm Show this year made this and easy blog topic.
Just yesterday, we were contracted to coat a new micro-distillery floor in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. So, I think I’ll be able to update this blog after the 2015 PA Farm Show. I guess I’ll target those updates towards the lifecycle of grain to whiskey. Who knows, maybe I’ll have some winery additions as well.
Mike Mincemoyer is the President of Stronghold Floors and one member of the ownership team. He continues to search for the project that can be done in trade to quickly fill his scant wine cellar.