The Clouthier Family started farming tomatoes and peppers In the Sinaloa Valley over 60 years ago. Soon after they opened San Rafael Distributing a sales company in Nogales Arizona. In 2004 Francisco Clouthier opened a wholesale company in Los Angeles and 2007 Maui Fresh International (MFI) was born.
MFI has built and maintained relationships with local and national foodservice companies, retailers and distributors by providing quality produce and a variety of services.
“We’re in the biggest fruit and vegetable growing state,” says Francisco Clouthier, founding owner of Maui-Fresh International, Los Angeles. “We’re also within two hours of the Mexican border and 10 hours from Nogales, AZ. We have access to the ports and are within 20 minutes of Los Angeles International Airport; and we also bring in produce from Western Canada, which is two days away by truck. Los Angeles has become a hub for destinations that don’t have access to the produce we do.”
This strategic location makes the Los Angeles Wholesale Market a convenient place for smaller retailers to source an incredible variety of the world’s produce. “The small retailers, with from one to 10 stores, buy heavily in the Wholesale Market,” says Clouthier. “Not only do we sell items at the Wholesale Market, we also offer consolidation services. We are able to bring in produce from many different growing areas.” Some major retailers have also come back to relying more on the Wholesale Market, according to Clouthier. “I’ve been here going on 18 years, and I’ve seen it change and then change back,” he says. “We supply a lot of chain stores that moved to centralize their buying at distribution centers and then changed back to getting more from the Wholesale Market.”
- Produce Business, October 2017