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Coast Produce expands to meet growing demand

Last year, Coast Produce responded to the incredible growth of Los Angeles’ produce scene by opening two new warehouses that are located right across the street from its original warehouse on Bay Street. It was a move that doubled the company’s square footage.

“The reason for that is we wanted to enhance the services that we offer our customers, and to be able to accommodate additional growth for new customers as we saw the business trends and what was going on in Los Angeles,” said Jerry Wagner, vice president and division manager for Los Angeles-based Coast Produce. “Part of that business was cold storage, cross-dock and consolidation. We had a lot of our customers who were outside the city, who were coming to Coast Produce to pick up so that they could have a one-pickup, one drop, rather than have a truck loose in L.A. trying to make multiple pickups.”

Joe-Loading-Brea-1-of-1 The company has for many years provided consolidation and cross-docking for customers, and it saw an increased growth in that business just recently. In its original space, Coast handled cross-dock services and the company had a small re-pack operation. The expansion has resulted in a more extensive packaging department.

“We have two different types of shipper-based customers,” Wagner said. “One is people who are bringing off-shore products to the West Coast and we’re receiving the containers for distribution throughout the western United States, and people who are shippers who want to bring product to L.A. for distribution within the L.A. basin. That is something that continues to be expanding at a rapid pace for us.”

He added that owner John Dunn had the foresight to see that this growth was going to continue, which led to the two new warehouses.

The company also added shipper-based services and expanded its packaging and repackaging operation. One of Coast’s features is its ability to provide many different types of packaging for its customers. 

“We went from a small repack operation to multiple automated bagging machines,” Wagner said. “We do repack and breakouts, we can provide mesh, poly and tote bags, overwrap, clamshells and other types of value-added presentations and custom packaging both for foodservice and retail customers.”

Having all those sources in-house, along with inspectors who provide USDA inspection, is of great benefit to anyone who distributes produce with Los Angeles. And Coast is also expanding in other ways. Its operations in Nogales, AZ, are mirroring what it’s doing in L.A., and Coast also has a presence in McAllen, TX. The new facility in Nogales offers 70,000 square feet of warehouse space and 13,000 square feet of office space. That’s an upgrade from its prior small space that had one office.

There’s also a retail, marketing and merchandising team that covers 15 states in the western half of the country. The vast majority of customers Coast Produce serves are west of the Mississippi River, and the expectation is that as the Texas facility gains momentum, the company will be able to expand to the other half.

“We’re one of the few places that has a complete understanding of the needs of the retail business,” Wagner said. “We have our own retail, marketing and merchandising department. We understand the needs of the retailers who provide those services at store level.”

As Los Angeles grows, Coast is determined to build on its superb reputation.