Don Matelson, owner and president of Direct Ethnic Marketers Inc., Fairfield, Va., died April 28 in a vehicle accident outside of Flagstaff, Ariz.
Matelson opened his wholesale business in Vernon, Calif., in 1971, selling a wide variety of items, including fresh and dried chilis, Hispanic produce and Asian vegetables.
He opened an operation in Fairfield, Va., in 1981, and eventually moved there.
But Matelson kept a warehouse in the Los Angeles area for consolidating product and shipping, said Bill Morse, a salesman for Davalan Sales Inc., Los Angeles, a long-time business associate and friend.
The 63-year-old Matelson and his wife, Marilee, were driving back to Virginia from California when the accident occurred.
“They’d been out here for two weeks looking at the possibility of buying land, because Don did want to move back here to the milder climate,” Morse said.
The wholesale business was closed after the accident, he said.
Survivors include his wife.