(June 16) CINCINNATI — For a company in California, getting product to customers on the East Coast can be a tricky proposition.

Tristan Millar, director of marketing for Frieda’s Inc., Los Alamitos, Calif., said that was the reason beher company formed a forward logistics partnership with Cincinnati-based distributor Castellini Co.

“We had been doing forward distribution in that part of the country for quite some time,” Millar said. “It was a matter of figuring out how to do it successfully and with which distributor. We thought that the best choice would be Castellini because that’s where their expertise is.”

Millar said Frieda’s needed a strong distributor that could provide next-day delivery along the East Coast. The two companies tested the program for a month with select customers before unveiling it to other customers in late May.

NEXT-DAY DELIVERY TO 13 STATES

The program promises next-day delivery to 13 Eastern and Midwestern states — Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North and South Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

Millar said Frieda’s is keeping about 50 items in Castellini’s warehouse, including both perishable and nonperishable items.

“We wanted the biggest movers for the startup of the program,” she said. “We have some root vegetables, as well as onions and garlic. Anything that’s not too perishable.”

Once customer demands increase and the program reaches its full potential, Millar said Frieda’s hopes to carry hundreds of items out of Cincinnati.

The inventory will not be a duplication, however, of the inventory at the company’s headquarters in Los Alamitos.

“We have 600 items there,” Millar said. “It won’t get that big.”

EXPANDING INFLUENCE

Millar said the new program will complement an existing program Frieda’s has in Pompano Beach, Fla. The company has a distribution center there that brings in offshore deals to help further supply the East Coast. The two programs could go a long way toward helping change people’s perceptions of Frieda’s, Millar said.

“For many years, people thought we were just this company out in California that had to truck produce across the country,” she said. “That’s changing now.”

For more information, call Frieda’s at (714) 826-6100 or visit the Web site at www.friedas.com.

Castellini did not return calls for this story.