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The Largest Selection of Wholesale Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Products in Raleigh

When it comes to trying new, exciting cuisine, few foods hit the spot like a deliciously fresh Mediterranean meal. However, we know that it can be very difficult to find authentic Mediterranean grocery wholesalers in Raleigh, NC. Having lived in metro Atlanta for years, we realized that our customers needed an easy way to find quality wholesale Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food in bulk. That is why we created Nazareth Grocery Mediterranean Market - to give everyone a chance to enjoy tasty, healthy food, desserts, and authentic Mediterranean gifts at wholesale prices.

Founded in 2009, Nazareth Grocery has become one of Raleigh's leading international wholesale grocery stores. We are very proud to serve our customers and do everything in our power to give them the largest selection of high-quality wholesale goods available.

If you're looking for the freshest, most delicious Middle Eastern wholesale products and ingredients, you will find them here at the best prices in the state. We encourage you to swing by our store in Marietta to see our selection for yourself. We think that you will be impressed!

The Nazareth Difference

At Nazareth Grocery Mediterranean Market, our mission is simple: bring you and your family the largest selection of wholesale Mediterranean products in Raleigh. When coupled with our helpful, friendly staff and authentic Middle Eastern atmosphere, it's easy to see why we are the top Middle Eastern grocery wholesaler in Raleigh, NC. We're proud to carry just about every kind of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern product that you can think of, from prepared meals and hookahs to fine seasonings and sweets. We're here for our customers and want each one of them to have a unique, one-of-a-kind experience when they shop with us.

Our loyal customers love our selection of the following wholesale foods and gifts:

  • Fresh Breads
  • OlivesOlives
  • HummusHummus
  • CheesesCheeses
  • SaucesSauces
  • Savory-FoodsSavory Foods
  • DessertsDesserts
  • DrinksDrinks
  • HookahsHookahs
  • TobaccoTobacco
  • SaucesGifts
  • Much More!Much More!

Our Service Areas

Most Popular Wholesale Mediterranean Foods

There is so much more to Mediterranean food than pizza and pasta. The perfect climate combined with delicious foods and amazing wine makes the Mediterranean incredibly irresistible. That's why our customers absolutely love to buy this kind of cuisine in bulk. Every country in this region has its own set of specialties and delicacies, each with its own flavors and styles of preparation.

Mediterranean countries include:

  • France
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Turkey
  • Syria
  • Egypt
  • Israel
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Tunisia
  • Spain
Mediterranean Grocery Raleigh, NC

So, when it comes to the most popular wholesale Mediterranean products in Raleigh,
what are we talking about?

 Mediterranean Supermarkets Raleigh, NC

Feta Cheese

Feta cheese is a classic Mediterranean dairy product that is often enjoyed on its own, in Greek salads, on bread, or mixed with zucchini. Depending on where the feta is sourced and produced, the cheese can be made from cow, sheep, or goat milk, or even a combination of the three. Regardless of the animal it comes from, this delicious cheese is a crowd favorite.

 Mediterranean Grocery Store Raleigh, NC

Baba Ganoush

This Levantine dish is one of the most well-known Mediterranean dishes to eat in the United States. It typically comes in the form of a dip, served with pita or another kind of dipping bread. Commonly served before dinner as an appetizer of sorts, it usually features tahini, eggplant, garlic, spices, and sometimes yogurt. This tasty cuisine works great as a spread on a sandwich, or you can even eat it with a spoon, all on its own.

 Middle Eastern Grocery Raleigh, NC

Baklava

If you have never tried authentic baklava before, get ready to have your mind blown. This dessert is a traditional Mediterranean food that will have your taste buds craving more and more. Once you open a box of baklava from our Mediterranean grocery wholesaler in Raleigh, NC, you won't want to stop eating! Baklava is made with layers of thin filo dough, which is layered together, filled with chopped nuts (think pistachios), and sealed with honey or syrup. Baklava is so good that its origins are debated, leaving many wondering which country invented the dessert. Everyone from the Turks to the Greeks and even Middle Easterners hold unique takes on baklava. Try each one to discover your favorite!

Most Popular Wholesale Middle Eastern Foods

Fresh, healthy, aromatic, rich: it's no wonder that the popularity of Middle Eastern cuisine and products has skyrocketed in the United States. This genre of cuisine features a large variety of foods, from Halvah to Labneh. If there were one common theme throughout all Middle Eastern food, it would be the bright, vibrant herbs and spices that are used. These flavorings help create rich, complex flavors that foodies fawn over. Typically, Middle Eastern food is piled high for all to eat, with enough food for an entire republic to put down.

 Mediterranean Food Stores Raleigh, NC

Tabbouleh

This refreshing, healthy dish is chock-full of greens, herbs, tomatoes, and bulgur (or cracked wheat), creating a memorable, bold flavor. This dish may be eaten on its own or paired with a shawarma sandwich or helping of falafel. It's best to buy your ingredients in bulk to make this dish because it tastes best freshly made with family around to enjoy. Just be sure to bring a toothpick to the tabbouleh party - you're almost certain to have some leafy greens stuck in your teeth after eating.

 Middle Eastern Market Raleigh, NC

Shawarma

We mentioned shawarma above, and for good reason - this dish is enjoyed by men and women around the world, and of course, right here in the U.S. Except for falafel, this might be the most popular Middle Eastern food item in history. Shawarma is kind of like a Greek gyro, with slow-roasted meat stuffed in laffa with veggies and sauce. The blend of spices and the smoky meat mix together to create a tangy, meaty flavor that you will want to keep eating for hours. For western-style shawarma, try using beef or chicken. For a more traditional meal, try using lamb from our Middle Eastern grocery distributor in Raleigh, NC.

 Greek Grocery Store Raleigh, NC

Hummus

Traditionally used as a dip meant for fresh pita, hummus is a combo of chickpeas, garlic, and tahini, blended together until silky, smooth, and creamy. You can find hummus in just about any appetizer section of a Middle Eastern restaurant menu. That's because it's considered a staple of Middle Eastern food that can be enjoyed by itself, as a spread, or with fresh-baked pita bread. Hummus is also very healthy, making it a no-brainer purchase from our grocery store.

Benefits of Eating a Mediterranean Diet

If there's one diet that is most well-known for its health benefits, it has got to be the Mediterranean diet. In 2019, U.S. News & World Report listed the Mediterranean diet as No. 1 on its best over diet list. This incredible diet has been cited to help with weight loss, brain health, heart health, diabetes prevention, and cancer prevention.

Whether you already love Mediterranean food or you're looking to make some positive changes in your life, this "diet" is for you. Eating cuisine like Greek food, Persian food, Turkish food, and Italian food is healthy and tastes great. Even better than that? At Nazareth Wholesale Grocery, we have many staples of the Mediterranean diet for sale in bulk so that you can stock up on your favorites at the best prices around.

So, what exactly is the Mediterranean diet?

It is a way of eating that incorporates traditional Greek, Italian, and other Mediterranean cultures' foods. These foods are often plant-based and make up the foundation of the diet, along with olive oil. Fish, seafood, dairy, and poultry are also included in moderation. Red meat and sweets are only eaten in moderation, not in abundance. Mediterranean food includes many forms of nuts, fruits, vegetables, fish, seeds, and more. Of course, you can find at them all at our wholesale Mediterranean grocery store!

Here are just a few of the many benefits of eating a healthy Mediterranean diet:

Reduced Risk of Heart Disease

Reduced Risk
of Heart Disease

Many studies have been conducted on this diet, many of which report that Mediterranean food is excellent for your heart. Some of the most promising evidence comes from a randomized clinical trial published in 2013. For about five years, researchers followed 7,000 men and women around the country of Spain. These people had type 2 diabetes or were at a high risk for cardiovascular disease. Participants in the study who ate an unrestricted Mediterranean diet with nuts and extra-virgin olive oil were shown to have a 30% lower risk of heart events.

Reduced Risk of Stroke for Women

Reduced Risk
of Stroke for Women

In addition to the heart-healthy benefits of a Mediterranean diet, studies have shown that eating healthy Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods can reduce the chances of stroke in women. The study was conducted in the U.K., which included women between the ages of 40 and 77. Women who stuck to the Mediterranean diet showed a lower risk of having a stroke - especially women who were at high risk of having one.

Benefits of Eating a Mediterranean Diet

First and foremost, purchase your Mediterranean and Middle Eastern wholesale foods from Nazareth Grocery - we're always updating our inventory! Getting started on this healthy, delicious diet is easy.

Try these tips:

Try these tips

1.

Instead of unhealthy sweets like candy and ice cream, try eating fresh fruit instead. It's refreshing, tasty, and often packed with great vitamins and nutrients.

2.

Try eating fish twice a week, in lieu of red meat. Fish is much healthier and doesn't have the unfortunate side effects of red meat, like inflammation.

3.

Try planning out your meals using beans, whole grains, and veggies. Don't start with meats and sweets.

4.

They're tasty, but try to avoid processed foods completely.

5.

Instead of using butter to flavor your food, use extra virgin olive oil instead. Olive oil contains healthy fats and tastes great too.

6.

Try to get more exercise and get out of the house. The Mediterranean lifestyle is an active one, best enjoyed in the beautiful sunshine when possible.

Why Buy Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Products Wholesale?

Buying wholesale and retail are quite different. When you buy products from a wholesaler, you're essentially buying from the middleman between a retail establishment and the manufacturer. Wholesale purchases are almost always made in bulk. Because of that, buyers pay a discounted price. That's great for normal buyers and great for business owners, who can sell those products to profit. This higher price is called the retail price, and it is what traditional customers pay when they enter a retail store.

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 Middle Eastern Store Raleigh, NC

Latest News in Raleigh, NC

Former Mayor Nancy McFarlane outlines concerns about proposed North Hills towers in letter to city council

In a letter sent to the Raleigh City Council, former Mayor Nancy McFarlane outlined concerns she’s heard from the community about a proposal to rezone land in North Hills to construct buildings as tall as 12, 30 and 40 stories.McFarlane, who served as mayor from December 2011 through December 2019, stated in her letter that, “North Hills is a great area, but it is not a downtown.”The letter comes as the Raleigh City Council is set to consider new rezoning requests submitted by Kane Realty during its Tuesday ni...

In a letter sent to the Raleigh City Council, former Mayor Nancy McFarlane outlined concerns she’s heard from the community about a proposal to rezone land in North Hills to construct buildings as tall as 12, 30 and 40 stories.

McFarlane, who served as mayor from December 2011 through December 2019, stated in her letter that, “North Hills is a great area, but it is not a downtown.”

The letter comes as the Raleigh City Council is set to consider new rezoning requests submitted by Kane Realty during its Tuesday night meeting.

Read Nancy McFarlane's full letter to the city council: Click or tap here

“When this city council states that affordable housing is a priority for them, I’m not sure that this rezoning request addresses the problem,” McFarlane said. “More density, less parking requirements and more traffic do not seem to be a solution to anything.”

McFarlane’s letter also mentioned traffic concerns about Kane Realty’s proposal to build three 40-story buildings and one 30-story building. Kane Realty wants the ability to build up to 30 stories along Lassiter Mill Road and up to 40 stories along Six Forks Road.

“My understanding is that the city council has not required a Traffic Impact Analysis to be done,” McFarlane wrote.

READ THE LETTER: Former Mayor Nancy McFarlane wrote to the Raleigh City Council about concerns she's heard from the community about a proposal to rezone land in North Hills

McFarlane also discussed the traffic configuration differences between downtown Raleigh and North Hills.

“When we build a tall building in downtown, we have a traffic grid that allows entry and exit many different options,” McFarlane wrote. “North Hills is built in a suburban area where you have an area of density served by just a couple of roads, which are all surrounded by cul-de-sacs, which empty onto those main roads.

“This is complicated by the fact that all of this traffic must flow through North Hills to get to the Beltline.”

McFarlane said she does not think the city has the infrastructure to support Kane Realty's proposal for North Hills.

In the tallest towers, Kane is offering to include affordable apartments based on Midtown's median-income to try to get the rezoning approved by the Raleigh City Council.

McFarlane also brought up the proposal’s 650-square-foot “micro units.” WRAL News previously reported that Jamie Schwedler, the developer's attorney, described them to a city council committee as 600-square-foot "micro-units" renting for around $1,500.

“It is also my understanding that there are existing units of this size currently on the other side of Six Forks Road, across from this project that rent for $2400 [per] month,” McFarlane said.

Kane Realty’s second new proposal is to step-back on building heights in the Lassiter District. It means the tallest part of the building would not face Rowan Street, right across from single-family homes and a school.

"It really goes back to having a really good overall comprehensive plan, which we do," McFarlane said. "But how many times can you one-off it just to do something different?"

The new rezoning conditions are set to go before the Raleigh City Council for the first time during the 7 p.m. Tuesday meeting.

In the 1990s, Bob Mulder served for four years as chairman of the Raleigh Planning Commission. During that time, he said the commission never dealt with rezoning requests to reach the heights developers want to take the city's skyline now.

"Over time, the development regulations have changed, so a person like me could end up with a multi-story, multi-unit building next to me," Mulder said.

Mulder believes Raleigh leaders now need to slow down denser development until the city's infrastructure and transit can support it.

"They’ve taken a sledgehammer approach to spreading density all over the city," Mulder said. "They just really didn’t think about the consequences at all."

WRAL News searched rezoning cases and discovered the city council has approved 19 rezonings to allow buildings up to 20 stories or taller. There are 19 more are working their way through the rezoning process as of Tuesday, with most of them clustered in downtown, Midtown and Brier Creek.

The areas are designated as "growth centers" on a map Mitchell Silver helped develop when he was the city's planning director from 2005 to 2014.

"That’s where you’re going to see more density and more height, but in exchange, your neighborhoods will be protected from encroachment of more intense development," Silver said.

Silver mentioned how the number of people moving to the area have prompted leaders to consider building vertically.

"We did not have enough land to do [three-story] or [single-family homes,]" Silver said. "We would run out of land."

NC State coach Dave Doeren not second-guessing decisions on goal-line offense at ECU

Make the most of Homecoming Weekend with our latest travel tips and recommendations for the Triangle.N.C. State’s football staff relies on analytics like many of their coaching peers in making some in-game decisions.Fourth-and-goal from the opposing team’s 1-yard line? With the lead, in the fourth quarter?Go for it – that’s what the analytics say, Wolfpack coach...

Make the most of Homecoming Weekend with our latest travel tips and recommendations for the Triangle.

N.C. State’s football staff relies on analytics like many of their coaching peers in making some in-game decisions.

Fourth-and-goal from the opposing team’s 1-yard line? With the lead, in the fourth quarter?

Go for it – that’s what the analytics say, Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren says.

“Analytics tell you to go for it inside the 3 every time,” Doeren said Monday. “Because if you don’t get it you’re giving the ball back to ‘em in a position where you should be able to hold them in and get the ball back and get field position again.

“And your odds on fourth-and-1 are very high. The odds of getting seven points are very high and you’re going to take those odds.”

But what sterile analytics can’t quantify is the ability of players like East Carolina’s Juan Powell, Immanuel Hickman, Julius Wood and others pushing through the Pack’s offensive front, getting to the ball carrier quickly, making the stop with authority.

That’s what happened Saturday in the season opener between the Wolfpack and Pirates at ECU’s Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Powell was among several ECU defenders who eventually grabbed Pack running back Demie Sumo-Karngbaye and slammed him to the turf for a 2-yard loss on fourth down.

A field goal by Christoper Dunn would have pushed the Pack ahead 24-14 with about 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter. That might have done it for N.C. State. Might have.

Instead, the Pirates scored, then were denied the chance at victory on a badly missed point-after and a pushed field-goal attempt from 41 yards with five seconds left. The Pack escaped, 21-20.

But Doeren went with the analytics – and his gut and instincts.

The Pack’s veteran offensive line, led by center Grant Gibson, would get the job done, Doeren believed. Sumo-Karngbaye, a tough runner, would get it in.

“I believe as head coach you have to show trust to your line,” Doeren said. “When you get a fourth-and-goal on the goal line and don’t go for it, if I was an offensive lineman and my head coach did that to me, I wouldn’t be very happy.

“That’s just not how I look at things. I need to give those guys a chance to earn it. We didn’t. So they owe me one and they know it.”

Besides, Doeren said, taking a “safe” field goal would be more the cautious move. And, he added, that’s something he’s not going to do.

“I’m not a cautious guy when it comes to going for things,” he said. “I didn’t get to be a head coach as young as I was by being cautious as a coach. We’re going to be aggressive in this program. Sometimes, it’s not going to work. Not everything is a guarantee. … At least if it doesn’t work, I’m going down swinging.”

Sometimes, it’s not about analytics or coaching self-analysis. Sometimes, it’s about simple will, effort and execution on the football field.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Pack had six plays inside the ECU 2. On the first possession, running back Jordan Houston was ruled to have fumbled and ECU recovered – a call upheld after review.

The Pack’s defense held and Thayer Thomas’ 18-yard punt return had the Pack at the ECU 23. Moments later, Sumo-Karngbaye smashed his way off the right side for 22 yards.

The Wolfpack then skewed the analytics by failing to score on four plays from the 1-yard line as the Pirates beat the Pack off the ball with a strong push and knifed through for tackles on Sumo-Karngbaye

“I feel like it was on me,” Karngbaye said after the game. “I should have pushed harder. I gave it my all but it wasn’t enough.”

The Pack went down swinging on the fourth-down play – pictures of the Pirates gang-tackling Sumo-Karngbaye flooding social media.

Odds are, the Pack’s offensive line, the group that “owes” Doeren one, has seen it.

This story was originally published September 6, 2022 6:10 AM.

NC State LB Payton Wilson not seriously injured, but TE Trent Pennix will miss time

Make the most of Homecoming Weekend with our latest travel tips and recommendations for the Triangle.N.C. State’s injury news Monday was mixed for the Wolfpack but probably better than expected.The good: linebacker Payton Wilson is “sore,” according to Pack coach Dave Doeren, but did not suffer a serious injury Saturday in the opener at East Carolina.The not-so-good: ...

Make the most of Homecoming Weekend with our latest travel tips and recommendations for the Triangle.

N.C. State’s injury news Monday was mixed for the Wolfpack but probably better than expected.

The good: linebacker Payton Wilson is “sore,” according to Pack coach Dave Doeren, but did not suffer a serious injury Saturday in the opener at East Carolina.

The not-so-good: tight end Trent Pennix will miss four to six weeks, Doeren said, with an undisclosed injury. Doeren did add that the junior will not require surgery and should return this season.

When Wilson left the ECU game in the first half, then spent the second half on the sideline with his arm in a sling, the fear was the often-injured junior might be out long term again. But Doeren, during his weekly news conference, said Wilson’s MRI came back “completely clean” and that Wilson would not need any kind of surgical repair.

“He just needs time to kind of rest up on it a little bit,” Doeren said.

The Wolfpack, after winning a 21-20 squeaker at ECU, hosts Charleston Southern (0-1) this week in NCSU’s home opener at Carter-Finley Stadium. Doeren did not rule Wilson in or out of the game — Wilson was listed as a starter on the two-deep depth chart for Saturday’s matchup.

Wilson, who led the ACC in tackles per game in 2020, missed nearly all of last season after a shoulder injury in the Pack’s second game, at Mississippi State. After shoulder surgery, he also was held out of spring practice this year.

“The guy’s been through so much,” Doeren said Monday. “The knees, the shoulders. And he has one of the most elite competitive spirits that I’ve ever coached — the way he looks at the game, the warrior’s mentality he has for playing the game, the physicality.”

Doeren said Wilson was one of the players who had limited contact work in fall camp, with the intention of going into the opener with a fully healthy team. The downside for the Pack, the coach noted, was that some of those players weren’t as sharp as they can be, or will be.

The Wolfpack had a number of missed tackles on defense – ECU had 130 yards after pass catches and quarterback Holton Ehlers, who rushed for 57 yards, slipped free a few times.

“It’s a balancing act,” Doeren said. “We were very cautious and probably too cautious to make sure we had everybody healthy for game one. And we did, so it was mission accomplished. The price we paid maybe was not having enough contact that would have made us a little better.

“We maybe missed more tackles in game one than we did in three games last year combined. We’ve got to improve. Against great athletes in open spaces we’re capable of making a lot of the plays we didn’t make Saturday. That won’t sit well with our (defensive) staff, won’t sit well with our defensive kids, and they’ll get out and fix it.”

At the same time, Doeren wasn’t apologizing for the close victory, saying, “There’s no such thing as an ugly win” and noting what turned out to be a pretty crazy weekend of college football.

The Pack went into Greenville ranked 13th nationally and tagged as an 11-point favorite. The Wolfpack left Greenville 1-0.

“It was definitely a lesson in humility for our players,” Doeren said. “Playing from the ranked position, playing from the favored position, is something that’s new for our guys and something we have to learn to embrace and be better.”

The oddmakers made the Pack an 11-point pick in the ECU game and badly missed on that one. This week: the Wolfpack opened as a 44.5-point pick over Charleston Southern.

This story was originally published September 5, 2022 2:38 PM.

Volleyball Heads to Raleigh for NC State Tournament

CULLOWHEE, N.C. – Western Carolina volleyball faces a stiff test this weekend as the Catamounts head to the NC State Classic on Thursday and Friday to face Indiana, TCU, and the host Wolfpack inside Reynolds Coliseum. Two of WCU's matches this week mark the first-ever on-court meetings.Thursday's action begins at 11 a.m. against Indiana followed by a 4 p.m. contest against TCU. The tournament concludes Friday afternoon against NC State at 2 p.m. Admission for Thursday's matches is free of charge with admission ...

CULLOWHEE, N.C. – Western Carolina volleyball faces a stiff test this weekend as the Catamounts head to the NC State Classic on Thursday and Friday to face Indiana, TCU, and the host Wolfpack inside Reynolds Coliseum. Two of WCU's matches this week mark the first-ever on-court meetings.

Thursday's action begins at 11 a.m. against Indiana followed by a 4 p.m. contest against TCU. The tournament concludes Friday afternoon against NC State at 2 p.m. Admission for Thursday's matches is free of charge with admission to the NC State match Friday costing $7. Live stats for all three matches will be available on CatamountSports.com with Friday's match streamed on ACC Network Extra (paid subscription required).

Off to a 5-2 start through seven-consecutive road matches on the young season, the Catamounts have one win against a Power Five and ACC member this season, downing Wake Forest 3-2 at the Wake Forest Invitational back on Aug. 28. WCU leads the Southern Conference in kills with 13.72 per set and a .255 hitting percentage while ranking second in assists with 12.16 per set and blocks with 2.16 per set.

Indiana is 4-2 with wins over Indiana State, Chicago State, Sam Houston State, and Texas A&M – Corpus Christi and losses to Jacksonville State and Southern Methodist. Mady Saris leads the team with 76 kills and ranks third in the Big 10 with 4.22 kills per set. The Hoosiers and Catamounts meet for the first time.

TCU is 1-4 with its lone win against Coastal Carolina and losses to No. 3 Wisconsin, No. 5 Minnesota, Memphis, and Texas A&M. Julia Adams leads the team with 67 kills and 3.94 kills per set which is fourth-best in the Big 12. Thursday's match is also the first meeting between the schools.

Amidst a stretch of six-straight home matches, NC State is 4-2 with victories over Florida A&M, Sam Houston State, Colgate, and Elon along with losses to Kansas State and Tennessee. Priscilla Hernandez paces the Wolfpack and ranks fourth in the ACC with 4.41 digs per set. The two in-state foes last met in 2019 with Friday's match representing the sixth all-time series meeting.

The Catamounts close out the nonconference portion of their schedule next Thursday and Friday, again venturing to an ACC opponent at the Hokie Classic in Blacksburg, Va. WCU will face Appalachian State, Norfolk State, and host Virginia Tech.

Keep track of everything related to Catamount volleyball and WCU Athletics through its social media outlets on Facebook (fb.com/catamountsports), Instagram (@wcu_catamounts, @catamountvb), and Twitter (@catamounts, @catamountvb).

Alum Recounts How Near-Fatal Accident at Ballpark Changed His Life

Forty years ago, 4-year-old Jonathan Keane was struck by a foul ball at a Boston Red Sox game. Today, the Poole College alumnus and CEO of a Raleigh call-center company recounts how the line drive that fractured his skull impacted his life in profound ways, inspiring his people-centered business model.It was one of the most heroic moments in Major League Baseball history, up there with Rick Monday saving the American flag from protesters who were trying to set it on fire in the outfield of Dodger Stadium, President George W. Bush&rsqu...

Forty years ago, 4-year-old Jonathan Keane was struck by a foul ball at a Boston Red Sox game. Today, the Poole College alumnus and CEO of a Raleigh call-center company recounts how the line drive that fractured his skull impacted his life in profound ways, inspiring his people-centered business model.

It was one of the most heroic moments in Major League Baseball history, up there with Rick Monday saving the American flag from protesters who were trying to set it on fire in the outfield of Dodger Stadium, President George W. Bush’s first pitch at Yankee Stadium after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and anything Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby endured on the field during the 1947 season when they integrated professional sports.

None of those events saved a life, however.

What Boston Red Sox outfielder Jim Rice did on Aug. 7, 1982, almost certainly did when the former American League Most Valuable Player and future member of the Baseball Hall of Fame raced into the stands to grab a 4-year-old boy who had been hit in the forehead by a foul ball off the bat of Red Sox shortstop Dave Stapleton.

As everyone else sat horrified, Rice acted. He took the boy out of his seat, rushed him to the Red Sox lockerroom and made sure he received treatment from team physician Arthur Papas before an ambulance whisked him away to Boston Children’s Hospital.

“I asked what happened,” Rice says, remembering that day this summer on the 40th anniversary of the incident. “They told me a kid got hit. ‘So why are you all sitting here?’

“So I went and got him.”

Jonathan Keane has no memory of that family trip from his home in Greenland, New Hampshire, to Fenway Park with his father and younger brother Matt. He doesn’t remember the five days he spent in Children’s Hospital, but he does recall his chance to throw out the Red Sox first pitch of Opening Day in 1983, joining the father of retiring Boston legend Carl Yastrzemski in that ceremonial toss.

He has a small scar just above his left eyebrow that he doesn’t mind showing to a curious questioner and an annual anniversary to remind him of what happened the day Stapleton, his favorite Red Sox player, hit a line drive foul ball that fractured his skull and left 33,595 spectators wondering what might happen to the tiny limp body in Rice’s arms.

He is ever thankful to Rice, who he recently reconnected with through the New England Sports Network (NESN), where Rice serves as a pregame broadcaster for Red Sox games.

“He is a hero,” Keane says.

That near-fatal day left an imprint that goes beyond what the seams of the ball left on his forehead. It eventually led him to Raleigh and NC State, a school far removed from his New England roots that gave him the opportunity to create an identity beyond the “boy hit by a foul ball.” He graduated from the Poole College of Management in 2000 with a degree in business management and minors in marketing and finance.

In 2017, with friend and entrepreneur Joe Schmidt, Keane co-founded an outsourced customer staffing agency. He is now the chief executive officer of CustomerHD, which operates call centers in Raleigh and Belize City, Belize, for more than 20 international clients focused on strong customer-service solutions. The core principles involve two remnants from the horrific event of his childhood: people helping people and a strong commitment to giving opportunities to employees with disabilities.

“This is part of the story that hasn’t really been told,” Keane says.

In the aftermath of his accident, Keane needed constant care, which was primarily provided by his mother, Carol Johnson-Haywood, a special education teacher in the mountains of New Hampshire.

“The reality is that it took me a long time to recover,” Keane says. “My mom focused every day on that and was focused on making sure I was healing. She is the true unsung hero in all of this, even though she has always been behind the scenes when we talk about it.”

When Keane began looking at colleges, he was drawn south by warm weather, big-time college sports and finding a place where he could find a true purpose that befit his personality.

Studying engineering at NC State seemed to fit those goals perfectly, until he decided he needed more social connections than he received as an engineer, as a leader of the Union Activities Board and a member of the club golf team.

Enrolling in the College of Management helped him develop an entrepreneurial side that Keane didn’t know he had, with a strong sense of corporate compassion thrown in.

“One of the things I loved about NC State was that its core was not a bunch of elites,” he says. “It is made of people who are learning how to help other people. I think that’s who comes here and one of the reasons I wanted to come here.”

His mom’s helping hands and healing heart fit well with his educational experience and helped Keane develop a corporate mission that he and his co-founder hope go beyond operating call centers in two countries, with about 220 employees in the United States and nearly 100 in Belize.

“I had been to many and struggled with them because the people were treated poorly,” he says. “We started this company with the dream of creating a place that can treat people better.”

To do that, the CustomerHD’s two core principles are the motto “people helping people” and the concept of being “needed and known.”

“That means you are needed on the team you are on and that your manager knows about you, whether it is what you want to do in your career, a little bit about your family or even what the name of your dog is,” he says. “We have focused on that specifically in the U.S.”

The company has partnered with 3-2-1 Coffee for its local employees and done service projects with Habitat for Humanity of Wake County, a local food bank and local women’s center to instill the helping spirit into its workforce.In Belize, CustomerHD has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Belizean Ministry of Human Development to improve the lives and employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Earlier this year, the company gave a city bus to Belize City for local citizens with disabilities to use on an everyday basis and during a time of national emergency.

“A lot of that comes from the time I spent with my mom,” Keane says. “Teaching special education was her passion. She’s been with me to Belize and has pushed me on doing some of the things we do there, making sure we are focused on it.

“She is going to hold us accountable for creating a quality atmosphere for our employees there. I love that.”

On Aug. 7 of this year — the 40th anniversary of Keane’s traumatic experience — he and his father appeared with Rice on NESN’s Red Sox pregame show to remember what happened that day.

It was a brief conversation that recounted the incident but added one new detail by Rice that took Jon Keane a little by surprise.

The 2009 electee into the Baseball Hall of Fame said the annual media reminders of his heroic actions are an important part of his career accomplishments, which include 2,452 hits, 382 home runs, 1,451 runs batted in and a lifetime .298 batting average.

And it forever ties him to the Keanes.

“I feel like I’m a family member,” Rice said.

And being part of a family is a foundational principle and purpose for what Keane wants his business to provide for its cast of managers, entry-level personnel and employees with disabilities.

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