Unified Grocers has named Charlie's Produce as its exclusive partner in all produce categories for Unified's independent retail customers operating stores in Oregon, Washington and Alaska. Retail customers of Unified in the Pacific Northwest will now have more than 5,500 fresh produce items available, as well as a broad assortment of specialty and prepared produce, floral and home meal replacement products.
"This new program enables our independent retailers to compete more effectively and differentiate their stores through a wide variety of quality, fresh produce," Bob Ling, president and chief executive officer of Unified Grocers, said in a press release. "It also simplifies billing by consolidating statements and providing incentives for our retailers' continued purchases through Unified and Charlie's."
Charlie's daily delivery of a line of organic and local produce enables Unified's customers to meet shoppers' growing demand for quality organic offerings. Independent SQF Certification of Charlie's processing facilities assures buyers that items are produced, processed and handled according to high standards.
"At Charlie's, we pride ourselves on developing long-term partnerships that are built on trust and guaranteed customer satisfaction," Charlie Billow, chief executive officer of Charlie's Produce, said in the release. "Combining the strength of the largest retailer-owned wholesale grocery distributor in the western United States with the largest produce company on the West Coast creates a new innovative, dynamic force in the marketplace. We are confident that Unified and its retailers will prosper from our relationship and the high level of service and quality that have made Charlie's — and our customers — successful for more than 35 years."
Many of Unified's current produce employees will remain on Unified's staff — or may join Charlie's organization. Unified will continue to service Cash & Carry stores in the Pacific Northwest from the company's Portland, OR, produce facility.