Harbor Wholesale Foods takes pride in caring for thousands of foodservice customers throughout the Northwest.
For more than 90 years, foodservice customers throughout the West Coast have counted on Harbor Wholesale Foods to provide them with the fresh products they need to serve their own customers, and the company says its long legacy in the industry has been built on the idea that it can’t be successful if its customers aren’t successful. “We take great pride in being a multi-generation, family owned business from right here in the Northwest,” the company says. “This is our home and we believe in the timeless tradition of being in partnership with our customers – treating them like they’re our neighbors. We celebrate this by providing an incredibly deep catalog of products, including favorite local brands that reflect the tastes and preferences of folks from around here.”
Founded in 1923 by Swedish immigrant Carl V. Erickson as West Coast Produce Company, the company has grown considerably over the years. In 1954, it changed its name to Harbor Wholesale Grocery to reflect the growing importance of the grocery segment. As the company entered its fourth generation of family leadership, it became known as Harbor Wholesale Foods to reflect the fact that foodservice now makes up the largest segment of its customer base.
Today, Harbor Wholesale Foods serves a customer base of more than 1,700 foodservice customers, ranging from restaurants to convenience stores. No matter who the customer is, Harbor Wholesale Foods says it strives to deliver the same high level of customer service to help its customers be as successful as they can be. “There’s a reason we serve more small, regional businesses than all our competitors combined,” the company says. “It’s because that’s exactly what we do – we serve the needs of our customers.”
The success Harbor Wholesale Foods has enjoyed over the years is rooted in the fact that it understands the needs of its customers to a greater degree than its competitors. “We’ve built our business by understanding the needs and opportunities of small and mid-size operators,” the company says. “And since we’re from here in the Northwest, we’re in the perfect position to bring [customers] the products [their] customers love. To us, our customer relationships are real partnerships and we work hard to deliver benefits that go way beyond the basics.”
Because the company has a strong understanding of its customers’ businesses, Harbor Wholesale Foods can tailor its services to specific customers’ requirements. “It’s something that new customers notice right away,” the company says. “Harbor personnel approach them as consultants – not simply trying to sell them something. It becomes clear from our category managers and sales reps to customer service staff and even our drivers, that there’s a authentic spirit of collaboration to help our customers be successful. Whether it’s helping a C-store get just the right mix of products, or helping a chain of restaurants lower their food costs, our people have the experience and passion to get it done.”
With a mix of more than 12,000 products from nationally recognized brands as well as local favorites, Harbor Wholesale Foods’ category experts can help its customers source exactly what they need for their stores or restaurants. In addition to categories such as grocery, snacks and beverages, Harbor Wholesale Foods also supplies products in the health and beauty, general merchandise and tobacco categories, among others. This gives the company the ability to be a single-source distributor for its customers.
Another strong contributing factor to Harbor Wholesale Foods’ success in serving its customers are its distribution centers in Washington and Oregon. Totaling nearly 300,000 square feet, these centers feature the latest in inventory management technology and processes to fulfill orders with pinpoint accuracy. The company says its fleet of more than 65 multi-temperature trucks and vans deliver those products safely.
“Harbor serves customers throughout the Northwest as their comprehensive, single source distributor, offering the most comprehensive products and services in the industry. We are 100 percent focused on efficiency and accuracy, working tirelessly to deliver perfectly – on time, intact, and within the appropriate temperature range – each and every time.”
Harbor Wholesale Foods says its investments in technology play a large role in assuring customers that their orders will be correct and on time. The company’s advanced ordering system allows customers to scan bar codes to build their orders, request shelf tags and verify retail pricing at the push of a button from a handheld unit. In addition, the company says it supports numerous electronic invoice formats to integrate into customers’ in-house systems.
“All of Harbor’s investments in technology and material handling systems are designed to ensure accuracy, speed and simplified use for all our customers,” the company says. “Employing effective technology is a natural extension of our mission to provide [customers] with the best service possible.”