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U.S. Growers Cold Storage beyond facilities.

In 1925, Clarence Birdseye revolutionized the food industry by developing a method of rapidly freezing food. Certainly he must have foreseen his own success, but it is doubtful he envisioned he was giving rise to a related business as large as that of the cold storage warehousing and distribution industry.

Indeed, it was the late Arthur M. Taub who sensed great possibilities in the storage of frozen foods on the west coast. In response to his premonition, Taub built a small structure of 17,500 square feet at a Vernon, California site in 1950 and established U.S. Growers and Shippers. In the 1960's, "Shippers" was dropped from the name, but business was anything but dropping. As it became evident that freezing would be a formidable companion to canning in preserving food, U.S. Growers began to expand. Today, when food companies in the U.S. freeze an estimated 20 billion pounds of food each year, U.S. Growers sports a six-warehouse complex of approximately 500,000 square feet containing 12 million cubic feet of multi-purpose storage space.

As with all industries, the cold storage warehousing industry has reached a point in its life cycle where parity has set in. Some warehouses around the country have "newer" equipment, in terms of wear and age. But, by and large, all warehouses are capable of offering state-of-the-art facilities within the particular niches they fill.

Nearly a decade ago, Angelo Antoci, President of Los Angeles, California's U.S. Growers Cold Storage, foresaw this parity approaching, and began making preparations to differentiate his company from the rest. His premise? If equipment and facilities would one day be virtually the same, the difference among freezer warehousing businesses in the future would be in the area of personal service.

Why Growth Was A Necessity

"Our most important commodity is not the facilities, but the personal service we provide through those facilities. We are in a service-oriented business, and that concept must be instilled into every member of the organization," said Angelo Antoci while addressing his staff concerning expansion possibilities. And with that, a new age of quality personal service was born at U.S. Growers.

U.S. Growers believes that there are two kinds of growth in any business -- growth for the sake of growth, and growth with a purpose. Further, they feel growth must be dictated by customer needs to provide better and more efficient service for customers. With this in mind, U.S. Growers set out to develop a system of analyzing customer needs in all phases of the warehousing and distribution industry. As Antoci saw it, such a system would begin an "upward spiral" in client service relationships. As a customer or potential customer's needs were determined, a new service was added. This service would, in turn, allow U.S. Growers to gain new customers who had need for that same service. Additional customers would require expanded facilities. Likewise, the expanded facilities would attract new and larger customers.

Today that cycle has culminated in U.S. GrOwers newest addition -- a 4.5 million cubic foot state-of-the-art warehouse declared to be the finest facility in Los Angeles. The finest facility, not only because of the new equipment and building, but because of the support staff that makes it work and the personalized service they provide.

A Look At The Future

Antoci, along with Bill Berg who is U.S. Growers Operations Manager, and other managers at the company, are confident about the future of the cold storage industry and their place in it. The West Coast is a lucrative region for warehousing and distribution. The population base is ever expanding; business is constantly expanding with the Pacific rim countries; and U.S. Growers is strategically located near one of the busiest ports in the U.S. All of these elements keep U.S. Growers in a perpetual state of controlled growth planning underscored at all times by the needs of the customer.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Frozen Food Digest
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Apr 1, 1993
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