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Ben B. launches new bagging operation for citrus

By
Keith Loria

Ben B. Schwartz & Sons has more than a century worth of experience as a dependable name in the produce industry. Led by owners Jake and Drew Billmeyer, who took over the reins from their father, Chris Billmeyer, the company is a mainstay on the Michigan Produce Terminal in Detroit.

Jordan
Jordan Grainger

The fourth-generation-run company’s distribution network reaches most of the United States and parts of Canada, with a larger presence in Toronto in recent years. The team at Ben B. is trusted and experienced, and that comes down to people knowing their roles and wearing multiple hats to ensure that the family-owned company is running the best it can.

In 2024, Ben B. has some exciting things going on.

“We launched a bagging operation in the beginning of April and are very excited about the new offerings we have for our customers,” said Jordan Grainger, vice president of sales and business development for the company. “We started with citrus and will continue to add SKUs as we grow our bagging operation.”

Ben B. has a long history in Michigan, working in the area since 1906 going back through four generations of family-owned expertise. The company was founded by Ben B. Schwartz and his wife, Belle. 

“Detroit is a great place for a produce distributor,” Grainger said. “Detroit has access to a large portion of the population of North America. Detroit is a major crossing point between the U.S. and Canada.”

Working in Detroit has been an important part of the company’s success, as the produce it works with has a very strong presence in independent grocery stores. 

“These stores pride themselves on having the best to offer their customers,” Grainger said. “This factors into our procurement strategy to work with our supplier partners to source the best and stay ahead of our competition.”

Customers are Ben B.’s top priority and it works to ensure its customers become partners and works with them to develop strategies to grow each other’s businesses.

“Customer feedback is very important to us as a company,” Grainger said. “We use this feedback, negative, positive, or indifferent, to help improve our quality and service we provide to our customers. Worst thing to do with feedback from customers is nothing at all.”

Additionally, Ben B.’s procurement team is constantly looking for the best quality and varieties to offer its customers. 

“We pride ourselves on the quality we deliver to our customers,” Grainger said. “Ben B. has built a company culture to provide the customer with quality and service that tries to exceed the customers’ expectations. We have many quality checkpoints during our process of unloading, storing and shipping of produce. Quality can change quickly, and quality is also subjective to each individual person. We try our best to make sure we align our standards and expectations with that of our customers.”

Keith Loria

Keith Loria

About Keith Loria  |  email

A graduate of the University of Miami, Keith Loria is a D.C.-based award-winning journalist who has been writing for major publications for close to 20 years on topics as diverse as real estate, food and sports. He started his career with the Associated Press and has held high editorial positions at magazines aimed at healthcare, sports and technology. When not busy writing, he can be found enjoying time with his wife, Patricia, and two daughters, Jordan and Cassidy.

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