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Wednesday, Jun 29, 2022

Acquisition By Grocery Distributor

Worldwide Produce in Central Alameda said it acquired a Northern California competitor — Chef’s Choice Produce Co. — for an undisclosed sum.
The purchase is company’s 30th deal since its inception in 1989.

Chef’s Choice is a distributor of fresh produce and dairy — including avocados, leaf lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, berries, and citrus — and serves the East Bay, San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno, Santa Cruz and Salinas markets from its 40,000-square-foot facility in Santa Clara via 16 refrigerated trucks.

Company President Dave Thompson will continue to manage the day-to-day operations and about 50 employees.
“We believe the Chef’s Choice commitment to service, quality and professionalism matches well with Worldwide’s culture, which has earned a strong reputation for providing high-quality produce and superior service levels to its customers,” Chief Executive Todd Ferguson said in a statement. “Worldwide’s operational and product sourcing expertise, along with our sales team, will give rise to exciting growth at Chef’s Choice, while still providing the personal touch that Dave and his team are known for.”

Abbas Ghulam co-founded Worldwide Produce as Green Farms California in 1989. The food distributor, which has an estimated 150 employees, sources a range of produce, dairy and specialty foods for restaurant and hotel clients in Southern California and the Las Vegas area. The company’s 5,000 products are distributed from warehouses in San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Vernon. Dallas-based Sole Source Capital acquired Worldwide Produce in 2019, and Ghulam left in 2020.

“Worldwide Produce is an ideal partner to support the next phase of Chef’s Choice,” Thompson said in a statement. “By joining Worldwide, Chef’s Choice can benefit from Worldwide’s scale and grower relationships. We are extremely proud of the last 25-plus years and look forward to continuing to provide our customers with the highest quality produce from the best growers available.”

The Chef’s Choice deal follows Worldwide Produce’s 2021 acquisition of Vision Produce Co., a downtown-based importer and distributor of fresh produce that also operates a warehouse in Phoenix.

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