January 14, 2008

Christie Miller
(804) 545-5805
State export activation program accepts Courtland company into December 2007 class

RICHMOND - The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) Division of International Trade announced today that FERIDIES of Courtland was accepted into the December 2007 class of the Accessing International Markets (AIM) program. The year-long export development program helps Virginia companies pursue new business opportunities overseas. The December 2007 class will target countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

FERIDIES is a multi-faceted business that includes “The Peanut Patch” gift shop in Courtland along with branded and private-label peanut and specialty food sales across the U.S. and overseas through catalogs, the Internet and specialty food shops. FERIDIES roasts only the largest and best Virginia peanuts in pure peanut oil for exceptional tasting, wholesome and nutritious snacks ideal for guests, for gifting and for everyday. FERIDIES also offers a variety of peanut candles, nuts and other gourmet snacks. Located in Courtland, in the heart of Virginia peanut country, FERIDIES has been proudly owned and operated by the Riddick family since 1973.

“International sales offer significant opportunities for our company,” said Jane Riddick-Fries, Vice President, FERIDIES. “We are eager to explore exporting as a growth strategy and AIM will help us to do just that. In addition to valuable capital funding, research and expert counseling, AIM’s export training will give us the confidence to explore exports leads on our own in the future.”

AIM jump-starts exports by encouraging a proactive, systematic approach to exporting in order to minimize risks and maximize returns. Participants learn the basics of export while they simultaneously explore sales in a new market overseas. Companies do not need prior export experience, but must agree to visit their target export market prior to graduation, and must attend quarterly seminars covering the basic steps of exporting.

“To support their efforts, AIM connects participants to the tools and resources needed for successful export sales,” said Elizabeth Morgan-Brown, AIM Program Manager. “The VEDP looks forward to supporting FERIDIES as they develop and implement their international business strategy.”

Participants have access to $5,000 that will be refunded to offset approved export-related expenses. They also receive pro-bono counseling from six private-sector export specialists including an attorney, a Web designer, a banker, a translator, a freight forwarder and a U.S. export compliance specialist.

AIM draws upon public-and private-sector resources to help participants develop and implement a custom Market Access Plan (MAP) for their target market that incorporates the 10 basic steps of export. The AIM “MAP” approach can be replicated to target new markets in the future. Participants are also encouraged to initiate projects to support their overall exports such as conducting a compliance audit, translating marketing materials, updating Web sites or purchasing export software.

Based on a competitive quarterly application process, 20 companies will be accepted into the AIM program each year.

To learn more about the AIM Program visit

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, a marketing organization, was created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1995 to encourage, stimulate, and support the development and expansion of the economy of the Commonwealth. The Partnership is a state authority, which is governed by a 21-member Board of Directors appointed by the Governor and the Virginia General Assembly. To accomplish its objectives of promoting economic expansion within the Commonwealth, the Partnership focuses its efforts on business recruitment, expansion and international trade. VEDP has offices in Virginia, Belgium, Hong Kong, Mexico, Brazil, Korea and Japan.


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