Vision Produce Co (Formerly Tavilla Sales Company of L A) was founded in 1980 by Bill Vogel and Tavilla Sales of South San Francisco. The company brokered fresh fruits and vegetables into the Southwestern United States. Off-season vegetables, tropical and specialty produce items were our core items. Strong relationships with shippers in Texas and Florida were the backbone of the business. Within a year Tavilla Sales was moving 250 loads of fresh produce per month and hired two new sales people to handle the workload. In 1989 Bill Vogel reformed the company into APB, Inc. dba Tavilla Sales Co. of L A, acquiring a majority of the stock in the process.
During the 1990s, chain store consolidation, the internet revolution and the growth of ethnic markets combined to create serious challenges. We responded with facility and infrastructure upgrades, increased customer service, just-in-time inventory controls, employee development and education, and increased focus on product care. Downsizing and the loss of some large chain customers was common in the industry as it restructured itself. Changes in growing areas, expansion of crop seasons, and the advent of more imports required a re-thinking of our source of supply. We moved from a “brokerage” model of business to becoming a “source” for our products by working direct with growers. We became a regional distributor of our core items expanding into brand identification, and increasing our marketing presence.
In 2000, we moved into a new efficient designed produce warehouse featuring four individually temperature-controlled cold rooms for specialized product care. Tavilla was able to offer multi-dimensional service to customers, enhance product care and streamline operations. Repacking and value-added items allowed us versatility and desirability in meeting customer needs. In the early 2000s, we responded to category management by identifying ourselves as both at source and as experts with our commodity groups of Tropical Fruit and Hispanic produce. We continued to develop and improve relationships with growers and packers of our product line. By 2003 we worked direct with shippers in nearly eight different States in Mexico, as well as working some mango programs from Central and South American countries. In these cases we generally acted as a marketing partner and often as a financial partner as well.
In 2008 as the economy sputtered and fear was the motivation for business success, we worked on efficiency and identified cost saving measures without sacrificing service and quality. We knew that produce was going to continue moving, and that upgrading infa-structure, grower connections, and better execution in operations would insure satisfaction with our customers. We partnered with two well-connected individuals and formed Vision Import Group on the East Coast where our grower connections increased greatly. We elevated our Arizona operation to include a facility and delivery services to enhance our presence there. In the end, we elevated the level of our staff and continued increasing our sales from year to year.
After 2010, we became active in the sustainability issue. We put Solar Power on our L A facility. In Phoenix we moved into a new building custom designed for a state-of-the-art produce facility in 2013, and by 2015 we had installed Solar Power. Food Safety became an issue front and center for us and top ratings were obtained for our facilities. Our grower community was also on board with food safety initiatives, with even one of our Lime grower/packers in Mexico becoming the first Mexican produce shipper to obtain a “European Gap” rating. Involving ourselves in the marketing and development of our products has elevated us to higher market shares with Root Vegetables, Mangoes, Limes, Maridol Papaya, and a full line of fresh chilies. Two of our key members became leaders and Chairman of the Board at the National Mango Board marketing organization. Adding a Florida office at Vision Import Group, and a Nogales office to handle our Mexican grower direct products were natural developments in our expanding programs. Our brands of Mojito Limes, Van Gogh Mangoes, California Chile Company and La Visión are coming to represent top quality, food safety compliance, sustainability leadership and products our customers are proud to offer. In order to guarantee prompt and accurate deliveries we opened a trucking company, VPC Freight Solutions, in 2014, operating from our Phoenix facility.
To the future, we have positioned ourselves to be a viable and successful partner in produce for our retail, food service and wholesale customers. We use our profits to re-invest in our personnel, continually upgrade our infrastructure and to support the financial and environmental health of our business. We expect to be around for a long time catering to the needs and satisfaction of our customers.