How a pandemic unexpectedly put a small family business and jobs for people with developmental disabilities at risk… and how a little imagination can save their year.

Through Labor Day, locally and family-owned St. Louis grocery chain, Dierbergs Markets is partnering with American Carnival Mart (ACM) and Canterbury Enterprises in an attempt to sell 3.5 million colorful eggs filled with wrapped candy at cost across each of the chain’s 25 stores and online by ACM.

While it might be an unusual time of year to see colorful candy-filled eggs at the grocery store, these three companies are counting on the support, and imaginative thinking of the community to help protect more than 90 local jobs.

The COVID-19 impact to business closures and event cancellations proved detrimental this year to ACM, a Creve Coeur, Missouri based family-owned business, which depends on Easter egg sales each spring to support their business throughout the year.

“ACM has been devastated by the COVID-19 shut down,” said Mark Haug, Chief Operating Officer and General Manager at American Carnival Mart. “Easter eggs are almost 50% of our business and sales came to a quick halt when egg hunts were cancelled throughout the United States.”

“Our [employees] take pride in what they do every day and look forward to their job.”
– Charlie Fischer, Executive Director, Canterbury Enterprises

For years ACM has partnered with Canterbury Enterprises, a local sheltered workshop, based in Shrewsbury, MO, employing people with developmental disabilities in St. Louis County and City to fill these eggs with wrapped candy each year. Canterbury relies on this business from ACM year-round to help employ more than 90 individuals with developmental disabilities.

“Our ‘Easter Bunny Helpers’ love filling the Easter eggs, and take pride in what they do every day and look forward to their job,” said Charlie Fischer, Executive Director for Canterbury Enterprises. “We have provided reliable and safe employment for people with disabilities for more than 35 years. Filling these eggs is a big part of their work each year. Losing these sales means there are no eggs to fill for the 2021 season and years beyond, meaning we may be forced to lay off up to half of our employees. We are hoping to support them any way we can.”

To help both of these operations, Dierbergs Markets began selling these candy-filled eggs in stores back in mid-June and will have them on shelves through Labor Day of this year, September 7th.

“Our company’s motivation is to protect local jobs for these individuals whose work and happiness go hand in hand.”
– Bob Dierberg, Chairman, Dierbergs Markets

“Our company’s motivation is to protect local jobs for these individuals whose work and happiness go hand in hand,” said Bob Dierberg, Chairman, Dierbergs Markets. “Dierbergs will absorb any labor and other expenses so all proceeds of the eggs will go directly back to ACM and Canterbury Enterprises.”

When purchased at any Dierbergs location, a 50-count egg package is available for $6.50.

The response from the St. Louis area, surrounding counties and the Lake of the Ozarks communities has been outstanding. In the first four weeks, Dierbergs sold more than a half million eggs. Additional thanks to people sharing the story on social media, as well as local TV and radio news support. “The support has been incredibly appreciated,” said Dierberg. The company notes, however, this is only about 15% of the goal of 3.5 million. In past years, 90% of ACM eggs were sold outside the metro St. Louis area. Now, we are encouraging St. Louisans to share this story to friends and relatives outside our metro area.

In addition to the 50-count size you can purchase in store, ACM sells large case quantities, perfect for schools and organizations on Now through September, they will ship for FREE to any state in the continental US, as a one-time special offer.

“We are thankful for this opportunity with Dierbergs,” Haug said. “With the right imagination, these candy-filled eggs can be enjoyed for months to come. These can provide a fun activity to keep kids entertained with summer treasure hunts for family weekend events, birthdays, or fun back-to-school activities.”


Visit any Dierbergs location to purchase in store.
50 CT. BAG FOR $6.50
(Perfect for summer treasure hunts at family weekend events, birthdays & more!)


For larger quantities, order direct online.
25 different egg options
SPECIAL OFFER: Free Shipping to Continental U.S. through September for full cases of 500 count.
[No limit.]

[Photos of just some of the Caterbury employees who fill Easter eggs for American Carnival Mart.]