Trinity Fresh: Direct Distributing for Fresh Produce across the U.S.

Trinity Fresh (Trinity) began in 2007 as a uniquely formatted food distributor for produce and is now the fresh distribution solution throughout the U.S. Paul Abess, founder and president of Trinity, worked for JC Produce for many years’ prior, building knowledge and experience before striking out on his own. In 2010 Abess, along with his partners, purchased the assets of Third Coast Produce – now known as Third Coast Fresh – in Houston, Texas, to provide a larger produce distribution system. Together, Trinity and Third Coast Fresh have expanded geographically by combining resources and expertise.

Trinity is celebrating six years of success in 2013. To sustain further success Danee Brady, director of marketing for Trinity, says the business is reaching out to a number of sectors within the industry. Trinity is vertically integrated, offering efficient, controlled service to multiunit food service operators throughout the U.S.

The team operates out of two main offices in Sacramento, Calif., and Houston, Texas. “We distribute in California with warehouses in Sacramento and Riverside,” Brady notes. “Third Coast Fresh manages the Texas region.”
Trinity seems to have the formula for success down. “We’re mainly a fresh commodity distributor,” says Brady. “We don’t do any retail. We work with restaurants and our main market is mid-range, family-friendly chains. In addition, we specialize in school food service and hospitals in Texas.”

A Fresh Approach

Trinity has access to a range of products, primarily fresh produce, dairy, dried fruits and nuts, as well as eggs. “We have quite a few items that are available on contract prices, which makes us extremely competitive,” Brady says. “Specifically, we have an onion program where we contract directly with growers to produce Trinity onions on their land. Lately we’ve begun dealing with high-end Asian food products.”

With the business’ school delivery operations, Brady notes that the system varies in complexity. “Most of the school standards are set by the USDA,” she explains. “They tell us what they need and we deliver.” The company’s connections with local farmers allow Trinity to offer fresh, healthy and wholesome edibles to students across the region.

Abess and his team have determined a system to act as the only fresh distribution solution that many large clients need. “We work directly with growers to secure contract prices,” says Brady. “We know everybody on a first-name basis. There are no intermediaries in our operation. We pick up directly from the grower and we take it directly to the restaurant. Even though we service those large chains, we are very small. Each individual location we work with has a dedicated account manager that they can call, email and even text at a moment’s notice. We deal directly with restaurants and we are proud to offer the best customer service around; we are super personable.”

Meeting Market Demands

While fluctuating commodities pricing can pose a threat to growers, distributors and consumers, Trinity is able to offer unique stability. The team secures a direct line between producers and customers, ensuring both a supply and a demand. Trinity has a fleet of 48 trucks and contracts with other transporters when demand is high. The team integrates technology with tracking and order management software, monitoring products every step of the way. The company even has an app for phones and tablets that allows customers to place and track orders.

With growing demands for both exotic and natural foods, Trinity is well equipped to reach out to new partners who can provide the products its customers demand. “The mayor of Sacramento named our city the Farm-to-Fork Capital,” Brady elaborates. “We want to emphasis this trendy ideology within our interactions in the industry and partnerships with local restaurants and farms. We are working with our restaurants to pull them on board with this great campaign.”

Trinity is fostering growing relationships with growers in the region. The team provides locally produced foods from regional fruit, vegetable and dairy farms. The business maintains a focus on quality and freshness in all products. Building relationships with local farmers ensures quality and easier access to foods. With a large fleet and18 distribution points, Trinity utilizes hubs along the way to facilitate deliveries.

The company maintains a focus on people. Building relationships is paramount to growth, and Trinity relies heavily on integrated communications to promote the company and keep customers in the loop. In California, Texas and beyond, the business offers fresh, healthy produce, grown responsibly and delivered with care. Trinity Fresh is a growing force as an independent distributor and will continue to make the best of a network of suppliers and loyal customers.

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