On a Roll Sales Inc. prides itself on its ability to meet the individual requests of its customers. “We specialize in listening to what our customers need and create and develop products for them that satisfies those needs,” says Alan Leppo, who co-owns the company with Margie, his wife of 39 years. “It’s all about what our customers want, not what I want to sell them; they’re the boss.”
The company manufactures sandwiches and ready-made meals for convenience stores, vending machines, supermarkets, specialty stores and canteen trucks throughout the East from its 40,000-square-foot production facility in Brockton, Mass. The company’s customer base is primarily in New England, but it also has clients as far south as Florida and west to Ohio, he adds.
As each account is unique, the company uses a variety of meats, breads and other ingredients in its products, depending on what each customer requires for its distinct customer base and business model. “To serve that end, On a Roll Sales probably produces over 1,000 items of varying specifications for our clients,” Leppo says.
To satisfy that ever-expanding list of specifications, On a Roll relies heavily on Steve Leppo, Alan’s son and lead purchaser, to source out raw materials needed to fulfill the company’s quality assurance guarantees, as well as to ensure that On a Roll maintains proper inventory of each item. “Every day, I may meet and talk to 40 to 50 vendors in order to confirm that customer specifications and On a Roll negotiations are being honored,” Leppo says.
To meet the demand for its products, On a Roll operates 24 hours a day every day of the year. “We make our product fresh every day to deliver that day,” Leppo adds. “On a Roll is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.”
The most important constant in the wide variety of products manufactured by On a Roll Sales is that they are all produced with a high level of quality, notes Gregg Leppo, Alan’s other son and the company’s administrator. “All of our products have to be produced with the highest level of quality or the customer will throw us out without hesitation,” he says. “Some of our competitors would just make one type of sandwich and sell it; we don’t. This dedication to our customers’ unique demands requires extra attention to be paid to each and every item.”
While the company ensures quality though a quality assurance department, daily audits and laboratory testing, there is perhaps one practice that can reassure clients above all.
“We eat the stuff we produce,” Gregg Leppo says. “We feel comfortable enough with our product line to eat it ourselves and share it with our friends and families.”
Many of On a Roll’s products are beginning to feature biodegradable and hermetically sealed cardboard containers. The wedge-shaped containers, manufactured by London-based Rapid Action Packaging (RAP), are new to the United States but in common use in France and Italy.
Alan and Gregg Leppo became interested in the containers after visiting England last fall. “We are the first in the country with this technology, and will be expanding it as other companies get involved coast to coast,” Alan Leppo predicts.
The recyclable containers fill a growing need for environmentally friendly products. “I’m proud of the fact that we’ve been working on this for over a year, took it to market this summer and have already seen an increase in sales,” he adds. “Our customers are thrilled with the results.”
On a Roll’s partnership with RAP to produce the new containers is but one of a number of close professional relationships for the company. The company maintains strong relationships with not only distributors, but also with companies maintaining a similar business in other parts of the country.
One of these businesses is H.C. Schau and Son, a Woodridge, Ill.-based sandwich and ready-made meal producer with clients in the Midwest. Schau is also a licensed manufacturer and distributor for Okami brand sushi in the Midwest and Southeast.