Cincinnati-based B&B Imports Inc. has opened a brokerage office in Visalia, Calif., that’s overseen by produce veteran Tony Taviano.
Taviano, who previously worked in sales at Greentree International Inc. for seven years, started in March. His earlier experience included sales and marketing for Westendorf Produce Inc.
He is beginning his 28th season based in Visalia, sourcing product from Nogales, Ariz.; Coachella, Calif.; and the San Joaquin Valley. He has sourced grapes, cherries, stone fruit, citrus, melons, clementines and pears.
B&B Imports, which has worked with retail and wholesale customers since 1996, is a sister company of Miami-based Dave’s Specialty Imports.
“When (Taviano) approached us with this idea for B&B, we knew he was someone we could trust to take the company into a new direction,” Mike Bowe, president, said in a news release.
Taviano’s early career began in Fort Wayne, Indiana in the retail grocery business; he later shifted to wholesale operations in St. Louis and Indianapolis. In the 1980’s, as head field merchandiser and account development manager at Ritter Bros. in Bellefontaine, Ohio, he worked with Mike Bowe and Dave Bowe.
In Visalia he is using an established network of growers, shippers and inspectors. He also oversees sales staff.