Santucci Associates started business in 1959 as a nut and dried fruit broker, and formed the Specialty Food division in 1964. It introduced specialty foods and confectionery products to department stores such as Wanamakers, Strawbridge & Clothier, Gimbels, Hutzler’s, Hoschild Kohn’s, Thalhimers and Miller & Rhoades, along with German delis, cheese/gourmet shops, gift shops and upscale independent grocers. As times changed, and the department stores faded away, Santucci Associates began focusing on grocery chains through Specialty Food Distributors.  

“Today, it is primarily supermarkets through distributors with most of the old department stores and German delis gone,” Jerry Santucci says.   

Michael “Tony” Russo recalls a time when, as a child helping out in his father’s produce distribution business, he had collected 20 cases of asparagus from a supplier and brought them back to his family’s warehouse only to discover that one of the company’s drivers had already collected the same amount of the vegetable. After learning that his family was charged for only the first 20 cases collected, he worried about the consequences of holding onto the overage. 

“I thought that the supplier would believe we had taken 20 cases of asparagus from them,” he says. “I couldn’t sleep that night, and worried all night that I had done something that would tarnish my family’s name.”

Campbellford Wholesale is willing to do whatever it takes to please its customers, whether they’re located in the company’s home province of Ontario, Canada, or on the other side of the world in Australia. 

“Customer service is what sets us apart,” the company says. “We tend to look after our customers quite well, and over time you build trust and you continue doing business.”

The company provides tobacco, confectionary items, health and beauty products, pet foods, snacks, batteries and other items for convenience stores and foodservice accounts. Campbellford Wholesale expands its services during the summer months to include more than 400 seasonal businesses.

Verity Wine Partners was founded in 2009 with the goal of becoming the best fine wine distributor in New York. It represents a comprehensive portfolio of more than 750 wines from 240 wineries in 15 wine-producing countries. 

“One of the industry’s most diverse portfolios, what all Verity Wines share in common are balance, character, authenticity and, most important of all, [they] deliver value respective of their price,” the company says.

Working along with its loyal wine partners, Verity Wine Partners is the fastest-growing fine wine distributor in its region. Therefore, it is recruiting for its sales team as it expands into new areas, says Steve Doran, founding partner. It currently employs about 30 sales staff.

When Zalmi Duchman and Yosef Schwartz, a Le Cordon Bleu trained chef, founded The Fresh Diet in 2005, they wanted to combine the three important pillars of taste, convenience and results. Now 10 years later, the Fresh Diet has evolved into the nation’s premier gourmet diet delivery service, preparing and hand-delivering three fresh meals and two gourmet snacks to upwards of 3,000 customers daily.

“The brilliance behind a product such as The Fresh Diet is how easily it integrates and supports someone’s lifestyle,” Director of Strategic Initiatives Arley Betteridge Hunt says. “Our customers are not just dieters. We support a vast range of lifestyles and cater to different careers, needs and dietary preferences.” 

Trends come and go in the restaurant business, but ensuring profitability never goes out of style. But in a competitive landscape and an industry where 25 percent of restaurants close after their first year in business, ensuring profitability can be a tricky thing.

“What we see as the real topic of discussion – separate from the big consumer trends like sustainability and local – is food cost management,” explains Eric Cronert, vice president of marketing and communications at Reinhart Foodservice. “Our clients are looking for ways to better manage their food costs so they can better manage their overall operations and stay competitive in the landscape. Our clients have a great passion for food and they know good food. Our support is through helping them navigate new trends and getting new items on their menu, all while staying on top of rising commodity costs.”

Harbor Wholesale Foods distributes more than 10,000 different items, but it offers more than mere products. “We’re a trusted advisor to our customers,” CEO Justin Erickson declares. “They know they can go to us for help to support their business.” 

Erickson’s great-grandfather, Carl V. Erickson, founded Harbor Wholesale in 1923 after emigrating from Sweden. The business, which was initially based in Aberdeen, Wash., delivered butter, eggs and cheese to restaurants and logging camps.

When Champion Produce Sales Inc. was formed in 2007, it brought together several family farm packaging organizations with decades of expertise and which specialized in growing and shipping savory, sweet onions. The company was launched “to better represent ourselves to the consolidating mainstream business community,” owner John Wong says. “As customers size and profiles increase, we did this to better position ourselves for the future.”

Champion Produce Sales represents Champion Produce, Tamura Farms, Giant Produce and Triple J, collectively making it among the largest suppliers in the Northwest “We are the exclusive sales representative of those companies,” Wong explains.

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