Beer is not just that fizzy yellow liquid anymore, says Jerry Glunz, vice president of sales and general manager for regional distributor Louis Glunz Beer Inc. “This is an exciting time to be in the beer business, because everybody is tasting,” he says. “It used to be the cheapest you could buy, but now there’s a lot of excitement. People are looking for better beers, and they want that unique style.”

Eastland Food Corp. has not only grown with the increasing demand for Asian food products in the United States. The distributor based in Jessup, Md., also helped revolutionize the way Asian exporters conducted business with their U.S. counterparts. 

Modern consumers don’t really think much about fresh produce going bad unless it does so in their refrigerators. But there are many steps along the way from the farm to the plate, and Dominion Citrus has spent a long time working to perfect the process of getting fresh produce from the ground all the way to the consumer.

Allied Specialty Foods started out as a small operation producing raw, thin-sliced steak for food­service customers. Over the past 50 years, however, the company has diversified to include chicken and sausage, sliced in a number of ways. Although the company has changed over the years, Vice President Darren Buseman says it still considers itself a niche company, and that doesn’t bother it one bit because it means there is one thing it’s better at than anyone else. “Whether you want to or not, you fall into a niche that you’re good at,” he says. 

Minnesota’s largest independent food service distributor is committed to helping its customers remain profitable. Upper Lakes Foods serves both as a broadline distributor and a distributor to national chains. The broadline distribution operation, based out of the company’s headquarters in Cloquet, Minn., carries more than 12,000 items and serves restaurants, schools, healthcare facilities and camping customers. The chain distribution operation, based in Northfield, Minn., offers 2,000 products to three major national retailers, COO Jim Bradshaw says.

Town & Country Foods may be modestly sized compared to some foodservice companies, but it has a guarantee of quality that even giants like Sysco can’t match, owner Janet Lapin says. “We’re USDA inspected every day,” she says. “That’s a little thing we have that no one else has.”

PrimeSource Foodservice Equipment is not in the business of selling equipment. Instead, it is in the business of solving its clients’ problems, President and COO Darren Anderson says. “Those solutions are what’s right for the client as opposed to what may give us the highest financial return,” Anderson explains. “We really do focus on becoming indispensable to our customer.”

Ever since the late Carl Scharffenberger and his wife, Mary Ellen, established Food Sales West in 1974, the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based foodservice brokerage firm has consistently grown and attained its goal of being the most sought-after foodservice sales resource to top-tier manufacturers on the West Coast, President Dave Lyons says. 

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