Take a trip to any modern grocery store and chances are you'll find the sheer number of products absolutely amazing. How do grocers keep track of the wide variety of products that are available and how do they acquire them? If you have ever wondered how so many different kinds of meat, seafood, deli, and frozen foods get into the cases, the answer may well be Carman & Associates.
Carman & Associates, located in Hacienda at 5976 West Las Positas Boulevard, Suite 102, is a food broker and contract sales agent that provides sales resources for companies that include Sara Lee, Tyson, IBP Foods, and Zacky Farms.
"What we do is get products authorized," says Bill Carman, CEO of Carman & Associates. "We present new items and promotional programs to major chains and independents."
A food broker's role in the grocery industry is not unlike that of an agent in the real estate industry. Basically, a food broker represents the companies that provide the various food products, acting as a contract sales person. The food company receives the benefit of having a sales force out in the field promoting their products and the grocery store has the benefit of being introduced to new products that its customers might be interested in purchasing.
As in the real estate industry, both the seller and the buyer can benefit from having an intermediary handling details and setting up sales arrangements between them. Food brokers often take on other tasks that benefit both parties such as helping to set up displays.
Carman & Associates represents a large variety of products, ranging from processed meats to Mexican fare. "We represent Maple Leaf Processed Meats, Tyson Chicken, Thomas E. Wilson Entrees, Tiger Thai Tempura Shrimp, Chef's Choice Stir Fries and Elena's Mexican Foods," says Carman.
Carman & Associates originally started in 1990 as the Orr-Kizziar Company. In 1993, Carman bought into it, then bought out all of the other partners and owners in 1995.
Carman & Associates currently has a total of 14 employees, but only five or six are in the office at any given time. Most of the company's employees work out of their homes in different parts of the state where their customers are located."We have a person up in Yuba City and we have them in Sacramento, Livermore, and up in Arcata," Carman says. Groceries may be a necessity, but food constitutes one of the simple pleasures in life. Next time you're enjoying a meal, rest assured that Bill Carman and his staff are out in the field, making sure the grocery stores they serve offer all of the culinary pleasures you desire.
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