DALLAS — “Fruit & Vegetable” no longer covers the scope of Hardie’s Fruit & Vegetable Co.
The trucks no longer bear the name, either.
Over the past 70 years, the Dallas-based distributor has expanded operations “from the Red River to the Rio Grande” and beyond, and its growth over the past five years or so has been some of the most dramatic in the company’s history.
Expansion into dairy, retail — courtesy of winning the Defense Commissary Agency contract for the region about 18 months ago — and processing has the company looking at more options for growth, said Dave Allen, vice president of sales.
The DeCA contract was a dramatic change, Allen said.
“This was a new venture for us, and brought a different piece of the business,” he said.
To that end, the company now has a team of retail merchandisers and a full time marketing department headed by director Michelle Weech to handle promotions, point of sale and planning.
The new retail business couldn’t have come at a better time, Allen said, as it came as many companies were suffering from the recession and build more retail business with other clients.
The company also expanded its offices in Houston, purchasing Magnolia Produce, which had in-house processing, an area of the business Hardie’s had not previously considered.
The company is exploring its options in that arena, doing custom cuts for customers.
Houston business is strong, Allen said, and as it grows the company may consider expansion.
“In three to five years, we may be looking at building a Dallas-type facility, in a freestanding location,” he said.
For now, the business continues to develop with a full line of fresh produce, dairy, chocolates, juice and other gourmet frozen foods.