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.

If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. That’s the advice Southern Wine & Spirits took to heart several years ago when it overhauled the management of its massive nationwide supply chain. According to Vice President of Supply Chain Services Larry Sullivan, this was no small task, given that Southern Wine & Spirits is the nation’s largest wine and spirits distributor. 

However, the efforts made by the company over the past six years have paid off in a supply chain that is safer, more efficient and more productive than ever before. Considering how many retailers nationwide depend on Southern Wine & Spirits to keep their shelves stocked for customers, this has been a major improvement for the company and its customers. 

National Produce Consultants (NPC) prides itself on offering a personalized, hands-on approach to the procurement and distribution management of fresh produce to its end-users. 

“It’s about practicing what you preach with a tremendous amount of passion,” Vice President of National Accounts Courtney Dyess-Mam says. “NPC continues to raise the benchmarks daily by monitoring and controlling all components of cost for the operator’s total produce spend, from the point of purchase to the point of sale.”

Part of a global juggernaut, JBS USA is a top animal protein producer and exporter. Today, the company is a leading beef and lamb producer in the U.S. and Australia, a significant pork producer in the U.S., and a leading chicken producer in the U.S., Mexico and Puerto Rico.  

Headquartered in the U.S. in Greeley, Colo. and owned by JBS SA, a Brazilian multinational, the company employs more than 85,000 people in North America and Australia. It entered the U.S. market in 2007 with the purchase of Swift Foods, which was renamed JBS USA. On a global scale, it is part of an organization that is the largest animal protein processor in the world. It has 140 production facilities, boasting a global, diversified, low-cost production platform that allows it to produce a wide variety of products including food, leather, pet products and biodiesel.

The goal of A&J Produce Corp. – which is headquartered in Brooklyn, N.Y. – is to serve the exclusive needs of each and every customer in New York and the Northeast by providing the highest-quality produce with unparalleled customer service. “Through the determination of the company’s experienced staff, A&J Produce Corp. strives to be the premier supplier of the healthiest and freshest produce available at the most competitive pricing,” the company says.

In May 1977, three good friends founded A&J Produce by acquiring three units on Row A in the Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx, N.Y. Today, nearly 40 years later, a much larger A&J Produce still thrives on the same principles that Al Weiler, Joe Levantino and John Tramutola brought to market that first day – quality, service, freshness and value. 

Professional Produce owner Ted Kaplan was raised in the produce business.  Being a 3rd generation produce individual has had its advantages lending to an education and comprehensive understanding of the needs from grower to customer and everything in between. Kaplan draws from his own experiences as well as those of his father and grandmother as he leads the company into the 21st century. “Being raised in this kind of business, you just have a better understanding of what it takes to be successful in it,” Kaplan says. 

That deep understanding of the business has helped Professional Produce become one of California’s most trusted suppliers of fruits and vegetables for retailers and foodservice customers across the country. Kaplan says the company continues to find new ways to distinguish itself from the competition as the marketplace becomes more hotly contested than ever. The high level of customer service and food safety standards that Professional Produce brings to the market are the company’s greatest advantages and these have helped the company form long-term partnerships with customers and farmers. 

Founded in 1996 with a membership of just a single distributor, Produce Alliance LLC has grown to become one of the country’s largest produce-buying and management services groups.

The Buffalo Grove, Ill.-headquartered Produce Alliance today has a membership of more than 45 fresh produce distributors covering 46 states. In addition to its headquarters, the organization has locations in Chicago, Atlanta, Nashville and Salinas, Calif.

Produce Alliance’s members are independent owner-operator produce professionals, each with their own experienced sales and customer service departments, trained warehouse crews, refrigerated trucks and delivery drivers. Each member offers an integrated computerized inventory and product pricing system, as well as online order entry.

When a consumer orders a favorite coffee drink at their local café, chances are that drink is being prepared with a Grindmaster-Cecilware product. 

The company is headquartered in Louisville, Ky., and is comprised of four different companies: Grindmaster Corp., Cecilware Corp., Crathco and American Metal Ware. Grindmaster-Cecilware was formed in 2009 through the merger of the two companies and continues to be the industry leader in beverage dispensing equipment, but also operates a small division of foodservice equipment, CEO Nestor Ibrahim says. “We have a very long history and strong brand,” he adds. “We are four very strong, established brands that have created synergy and critical mass in the marketplace.”

Cecilware was founded in 1911 and manufactured foodservice equipment in Long Island, N.Y., and Grindmaster began in 1933 after Richard Shuman patented his unique style of coffee grinders. Through the years, both companies expanded operations through product development, diversification and acquisition. Grindmaster acquired Crathco, a manufacturer of cold beverage dispensers, in 1988, and then American Metal Ware, a manufacturer of coffee and tea brewers and urns, in 1995. “We will continue to lead with innovation and manufacture at the cost point that satisfies the needs of our customers,” Ibrahim says.

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