Frozen Food Express (FFE) can trace its beginnings to 1948, when it started as a refrigerated less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier with operations in Texas and the Midwest. Between 1971 and the mid-1990s, the company went public, made several acquisitions and got into full truckload (FTL) operations. But over the past year, the company has gone through a transition.

In July 2013, Duff Brothers Capital acquired FFE and took it private. Duff Brothers also owns KLLM Transport Services, one of the largest refrigerated carriers in the U.S. Based out of Jackson, Miss., KLLM’s focus is FTL operations. FFE has temperature-controlled warehouses around the country and is based in Dallas.

Medley Material Handling Co. is a leading distributor of material-handling equipment – mainly forklifts – to companies large and small that need to store and move products. To continue growing, the company looks to broaden its equipment offering and gain new customers.

The Oklahoma City-based company was founded in 1941 by President Mark Medley’s grandparents, Joe and Francis. At that time, the company was known as Joe Medley Scale Co. and was a truck scale distributor. In 1956, the company grew organically into selling material-handling equipment when it began its long-term relationship with Yale, a manufacturer of lift trucks and warehousing equipment. The relationship continues until this day, and the company has received Yale’s “Dealer of Excellence” award for six out of the past seven years.

Henning Hoj founded HOJ Engineering and Sales Inc. on one main premise. “His philosophy was to focus on the customer first, and he felt everything else should fall into place if you did that,” says his son, Peter Hoj, president of the Salt Lake City-based company. Established in 1964, the firm is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

A native of Denmark who immigrated to the United States with his wife and children in 1960, Henning Hoj drew on his background in mechanical engineering and expertise in productivity to sell overhead cranes to manufacturers and warehouse operators. “Designing and engineering the best solutions for clients was always his goal,” says Tim Hoj, Peter’s brother and the company’s CEO.

Manufacturers in today’s economy look to their vendors and distributors to do more than just provide them with a single product and service. Engineering, design assistance, inventory management and other value-added supplier services are becoming more common for companies looking to increase their efficiencies and reduce their costs.

Applied Power Products’ product and service offering makes it an ideal partner for manufacturers needing to consolidate their vendor lists. “We have a very broad offering for manufacturers who are working on vendor reductions,” says Rich Qualheim, vice president of sales for the Eagan, Minn.-headquartered company. “There aren’t too many other single source distributors/fabricators out there that can match our diverse product offering.”

Customers are increasingly looking for customized logistics services and a2b Fulfillment is in an ideal position to meet those needs, President Ayal Latz says. “We’ve become very successful due to our ability to offer customizable solutions [for] a growing and diverse client base,” he says. 

Based in Greensboro, Ga., a2b offers order-fulfillment, contact center solutions and a wide array of distribution support services, including kitting and assembly, order-management, returns and refurbishment, and both ambient and climate controlled warehousing. Latz explains that the company began as a small toy firm that he and his family founded in 1994.

“The product line revolved around dinosaur-related educational toys,” Latz says. “During the day-to-day operations of that company, we had warehousing capabilities and saw that other companies [like] ours could really benefit from third-party fulfillment services.” 

When a2b began offering the services to toy companies, most of the orders were on a business-to-business (B2B) level.

Roadtown Wholesale Trading Ltd. (RTW) is a good example of how a company can grow from humble beginnings into a leader in the food and beverage business, Executive Chairman Delma Maduro says. “We are the largest in the food industry in the British Virgin Islands [BVI].” Based in Road Town, Tortola BVI, the company is a wholesaler and retailer of food, beverages and other goods. Majority Shareholder and Director Peter Haycraft founded the company in 1961.

Surviving 90 years is an accomplishment for any company. During 90 years, most companies will have survived at least one cataclysm – a flood, fire, earthquake or other natural disaster. In the case of grocery distributor Hand Arnold Trinidad Ltd., the company survived an unnatural disaster.

As the largest food distribution company in the Caribbean islands, St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles-based Prime Distributors is not just celebrating its 30th anniversary – it’s celebrating 30 years of continued success, Managing Director Danny Ramchandani says.

Prime Distributors has come a long way since Ramchandani founded the business in 1981. A native of India, he immigrated to St. Maarten in 1972 to work in the electronics industry. After nearly a decade, Ramchandani felt he had accomplished all he could in the electronics industry.

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