Federal Fruit & Produce co-owner steps down

08/01/2011 09:15:00 AM
Tara Schupner

“Our foodservice business has grown largely as we’ve gotten more chain business,” he said.

Keeping a wide client base has always been important to Federal, Kouba said. The company’s clients include large grocery chain stores, smaller specialty grocery stores, local foodservice distributors, national food service distributors, school districts and universities, large restaurant chains and independent restaurants.

Federal also is a member of the Produce Alliance network of foodservice produce suppliers.

The company hasn’t been immune to skyrocketing fuel costs. The company distributes products to five states, but has scaled back its shipments to North Dakota and Utah because of high costs, Kouba said.

“They’re markets where by the time you get there, you’ve eaten up all the margins in the product,” he said.

Kouba said he looks forward to future innovations in the trucking industry similar to ones that already have taken place in the aerospace industry: namely, the development of engines that are vastly more fuel-efficient.

Federal, which was founded in 1935, employs about 90 people at its Denver facility, which has annual sales in the $50 million range, making it the largest produce wholesaler in Colorado.

The Colorado Springs facility specializes in foodservice business. About 40 people work there, and annual sales tally about $10 million.


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