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Susquehanna Mills Co., produces cooking oil on a local, regional level

MUNCY — Susquehanna Mills Co., located at 349 Village Road, started out as a biodiesel company in the early 2000s, making fuel out of waste cooking oil, and is now a regional cooking oil company that services a number of universities and restaurants with a cooking oil recycling program, as well as makes cooking oil to sell directly on their website.

The interest in making this high-quality cooking oil came from a question from a friend.

The friend asked Joshua Leidhecker, owner, if he could cook a turkey in the oil he was making for his business, and the rest is history.

“It lead to figuring out where this oil comes from…we collected the oil and took it there (to cook),” Leidhecker said. “I bought a bunch of books to learn what the differences are and figured out how to refine my business and get the oil into conditions that restaurants would be able to use it.”

Every year the business has expanded their operations in one way or another — from getting more knowledge to even more equipment and business partners.

Today, they serve 17 universities from local to as far south as Baltimore, from Lycoming College and Bucknell University to the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton — but every component is regional to Central Pennsylvania.

The packaging is from Berwick, retail bottles are made in Hazleton and Leidhecker’s neighbor in Jersey Shore makes the cardboard boxes.

“Beyond the uniqueness (of the high quality cooking oil), our commitment to really utilizing and supporting the resources in our region makes us special,” Leidhecker said.

“Our tagline is local, sustainable, awesome,” April Line, special projects manager, said.

With their university partners, Susquehanna Mill Co. gives them the oil, and takes their waste oil to then upcycle it into biodiesel fuel, making it “full circle oil recycling.”

Unfortunately the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic had a negative financial impact on the business.

“In the spring when it first happened, we had lost all of our college accounts,” Leidhecker said.

But as restaurants and universities begin to ramp up operations, things are slowly starting to come back, according to Leidhecker.

This year, the business hopes to continue their involvement with local food scenes, especially in Williamsport and Montoursville farmer’s markets, with the hopes to expand to Lewisburg.

“We are looking to expand our reach to support the small entrepreneur,” Leidhecker said. “We are trying to work and improve, and also work with the city to make it a destination spot on Saturday mornings.”

He added that this year the business is also working on an agri-tourism approach to their marketing while also having small events like a spring festival at their shop.

“There is a local supply of oil in the Susquehanna Valley,” Leidhecker added. “This resource is available to everyone…we encourage you to spend your dollars locally and support local families. We are more than happy to serve you.”

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