John Vena III holds framed logos for John Vena Inc. through its 100 years. John Vena Inc. employees gave him the framed logos at a Nov. 4 event to celebrate the anniversary. ( Courtesy John Vena Inc. )

John Vena Inc., Philadelphia, has been ushering in its 101st year by commemorating the success of its past 100 years.

Through the year, events to honor the company’s past with an eye on the future have included a refreshed brand, new logo and updated mission statement, along with an official nickname — JVI.

“The newly articulated mission honors the legacy of the Vena family while embracing the fresh energy their team brings to the table: working together to make the business of food more interesting, more exciting, and more fun,” according to a news release from the company.

More than 120 JVI employees, family members and friends joined a celebration on Nov. 4 at The Olde Bar in Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood to celebrate the 100-year milestone.

In his remarks at the event, JVI President John Vena III, grandson of the company’s founder, started with a question.

“So why are we here, in this place?” Vena said, according to the release. “Many know that this used to be a famous seafood restaurant, Old Original Bookbinders, which had roots back to 1898.

“Had you walked out the front door in 1919 you would have been right where John Vena Inc. began at 151 Dock Street,” he said. “That was the heart of the Philadelphia produce world. Hallowed ground for old-time produce people like me.” 

Vena said his grandfather owned the building at 2nd and Walnut streets, “where some of you stand.”

“We’re wholesalers, repackers, importers, service providers. What can we do to put all that experience and knowledge together to continue to make the business of food even more interesting, more exciting, and more fun?” Vena said in the release. “That’s the question I ask myself — and we must ask ourselves — every day as we begin our next 100 years.”

Food served at the event contained product from many of the company’s suppliers, including West Pak Avocado, Purple Pride, Babe Farms, B&W Growers and Fresh Origins.

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