Miller Quality Produce Inc. started in 1936 with Charles Miller peddling fruits and vegetables on the streets of Cleveland from a horse-drawn wagon.
The business eventually moved 55 miles south to Hartville, and it stayed there until three years ago when Miller’s son, Ron, and grandson, Dan, moved the family business back to its roots.
“Space at the Hartville warehouse had become very tight,” owner Ron Miller said. “It was apparent that it was time to move on. Our Cleveland location has proven to be an ideal distribution hub for cross docking loads and transferring product to several distribution points around the country.”
The company’s new location is less than a mile from the Cleveland Produce Terminal, and the timing of the move was fortunate. This winter, two of the terminal’s longtime tenants — Cavalier-Gulling-Wilson Co. Inc. and Forest City Weingart Produce Co. — closed their doors.
“Our business has doubled since January,” Miller said. “We have filled a void in this town. With Cavalier and Forest City Weingart gone, we have provided the missing link to the food terminal.”
Miller also added former Weingart employee Jim Amato, a 40-year veteran of the industry, to its sales staff.
“His specialty is potato and onions,” Miller said. “His focus is on premium product, and with his relationships with the best shippers in the country, that is exactly what we are getting,” Miller said.
Miller said he intends to upgrade his new facility. The company already installed an LED lighting system. Next up are plans to add a 30,000 square foot cooler and additional docks dedicated for receiving. “Fresh product is brought in on a continual basis,” Miller said, who started working for the family business when he was 8. “Not overpricing the product and prompt customer service makes all the difference in the world. We price it right and we move it out. We look for a 72-hour turnaround on all product. That is our goal. Keep it fresh and allow your customer to have longer shelf life on the product.”