In the Portland Oregon area, the year was 1990 and a father/son duo of Tom Vetter Sr. (whose father-in-law was in the poultry and egg business) and his son Tom Vetter Jr. each owned and operated as competing wholesale produce companies; one was called “Milwaukie Produce” and the other “Aloha Produce”. After a few years of building up their highly respected clientele and other produce companies being bought out by the “big guys” they decided to combine companies and operate under the well-known and admired name of Aloha Produce.
With motivation that was second to none to provide for his wife and three young children Tom Vetter Jr. was named President of the company and his father Tom Vetter Sr. was responsible for the day-to-day warehouse operations that included quality inspections both in and out of the warehouse. While Tom Jr. was dedicated to the picking of orders, truck routing, delivering, invoicing, product purchasing and sales.
The 18 work hour days and 80-hour plus work weeks became not just a job but a lifestyle for the dedicated people at Aloha to ensure the customer is number one and treated like kings and queens. With the dedication of each and every one of Aloha’s employees the company began to grow in a snowball like fashion and began to expand on their product lines and service areas. Now with over 40 employees and the announcement that Tom Vetter Sr. was finally retiring after being involved in the foodservice industry for over 40 years, Tom Vetter Jr’s sons and daughter were growing older and he wanted them to be able to grow up in the industry as he had under his father to ensure the foundation that had been built on integrity, hard work and commitment would operate for generations to come.
To start the new millennium, he made the motivated and hard decision with his wife (Rene), children and employee’s behind him he decided to expand the Aloha name and reputation into Central Oregon. Tom bought a home and moved his family to Bend to begin the next chapter of his life and rented a refrigerated warehouse and brought one salesman from Portland and hired three more local Central Oregonians to begin growing the business in Bend.
After years of traveling back and forth from Bend to Portland Tom Jr. presented his loyal General Manager of Aloha and good friends since kindergarten with the opportunity to buy the Portland division from him just as he had been given the same opportunity from his father once upon a time. This was completed in 2004 and that is when the new solely locally owned and operated in Bend, Aloha Produce Foodservices was born. Tom was now able to give his undivided attention to training both his sons that showed the same passion and dedication in the foodservice industry he possessed.
His son Jake who is a fourth-generation foodservice distributor professional turned sixteen and began working at Aloha part time loading trucks before school and working from dusk till dawn in the summertime learning and gaining product and industry knowledge. He became an instant customer favorite when delivering and handling their product and sales. Jake had the same understanding that his grandfather and father learned from true hands on experience that is very rare in this industry.
In 2011 Tom and Jake began the quest to expand and better service Central Oregon that they both call home. They began looking for the first ever full-time sales representative and found the best fit and team member that they felt would become part of the “Aloha family” and possessed the same value and integrity to Aloha’s customers that Tom and Jake wanted to be carried on. Aloha welcomed Nick Dean on becoming that team member and also adding his previous foodservice expertise. The sky was now the limit for how our newly earned and valued customers could build partnerships with Aloha.
After exponential growth year after year it was now time for Aloha to expand once more to better serve our community and customers and in 2019 our current advanced and state of the art facility in which Central Oregon has never experienced anything like it for product quality assurance and food safety was built.
With this beautiful journey and zest for life and community that Tom, Jake and Nick possess, combined with the support and relationships they have built with over 400 loyal customers and over 25 committed employees/residents in our community that take pride in Aloha Produce Foodservices. Let us serve you and carry on the Aloha name for generations to come.