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QSR Feature
Small Players, Big Opportunities
Northeast Distributors


Agar Food Service

HQ: Taunton, Massachusetts

Sales: $551M

Service areas: MA, RI, NH, VT, CT, ME

A 60-year-old company, Agar is the largest family owned distributor in New England. Agar provides executive chef support to customers through organized brainstorming and idea-generation sessions each week. Ninety percent of multiunit sales are attributable to quick serves.

Cheney Brothers

HQ: Riviera Beach, Florida

Sales: $787M

Service areas: FL

Cheney’s Green Balance Program offers nationally branded organic and environmentally friendly products. Founded in 1925, Cheney is a member of UniPro Foodservice Multi-Unit Group. The South Florida Business Journal ranked the company in 2008 as Florida’s 12th largest private company. Thirty percent of sales are to multiunit operations, with 5 percent of that to quick serves.


HQ: Hickory, North Carolina

Sales: $596M

Service areas: FL, GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV

IFH, a 44-year-old company owned by Alex Lee Inc., is one of the top 15 largest foodservice distributors in the country. Vertically integrated, Alex Lee owns a wholesale grocery distributor and a grocery-store chain in addition to its foodservice distribution company. As a result, the company specializes in deli/bakery, meat, and produce offerings. IFH is a member of the Distribution Market Advantage and Markon organizations. Half of its business is to multiunit customers.

Maines Paper & Food Service Inc.

HQ: Conklin, New York

Sales: $2.7B

Service centers: MA, NY, MD, TN, IL, OH

Maines is a 90-year-old, privately held company with 92 percent of its business in chains. More than 40 percent of multiunit sales are to quick-serve operations. A member of the Independent Marketing Alliance, the company serves 33 states from three distribution centers. Current customers include quick-service, pizza, sandwich, steakhouse, and casual- and fine-dining operations.

Pate Dawson

HQ: Goldsboro, North Carolina

Sales: $235M

Service areas: NC, VA, GA

Pate Dawson is one of the oldest independent distributors in the industry. It was founded in 1885 as a retail grocery business and is now in its fourth generation of family ownership. Three-quarters of its sales are to multiunit accounts and 85 percent of these sales are to quick serves. The company recently opened a satellite distribution center in Atlanta.


HQ: Taunton, Massachusetts

Sales: $381M

Service areas: MA, NY

Perkins, a family owned business, was founded in 1915 as a paper company. It has been a full-line distributor since 2004. Perkins has a new, 12-million cubic foot, state-of-the-art distribution center in Taunton, Massachusetts, and a satellite center in New Windsor, New York. Twenty-six percent of sales are to multiunit accounts and 38 percent of these sales are to quick serves. In addition to product specialists, Perkins offers kitchen-design services for new facilities or the redesign of existing facilities.

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