(Nov. 29) BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — It’s off to the beach for a major foodservice produce distributor.

The latest distributor addition to the Monterey, Calif.-based Pro*Act system provides the wholesaler access to key national restaurant chains along the Gulf Coast in the booming Florida panhandle.

Adams Bros. Produce Co. Inc., Birmingham, joined Pro*Act Nov. 18.

The 102-year-old distributor serves restaurants in Alabama, Mississippi and northwest Florida.

“This was a big area for us to cover in one fell swoop,” said Lloyd Ligier, Pro*Act’s vice president of business development. “It’s one of the biggest additions we’ve had recently.”

Before Adams joined, Pro*Act’s 43 members and 62 distribution centers covered 90% of the top 100 U.S. foodservice markets. The Adams catch gives Pro*Act 95% coverage.

“I think that panhandle area will become one of the next Orlandos,” Ligier said. “There has been an explosion of restaurant growth down there.”

Scott Grinstead, who became an Adams’ co-owner last year, said the Florida region from Tallahassee to Panama City to Pensacola is becoming a year-round tourist destination.

While Adams’ sales in that region have doubled over the past year, its sales in Alabama and Mississippi have increased by 50%, Grinstead said.

“This area is very much like Middle America. It’s a very strong area for national multiunit dining operations.”

Foodservice produce sales represent 80% of the three generation family-run business’ expected $55 million to $60 million in sales this year.

Adams has distribution centers in:

  • Destin.

  • Panama City.

  • Pensacola.

  • Jackson, Miss.

  • Birmingham.