As we continue celebrating our 30th anniversary of our retail food brokerage, we’d like to take a walk down memory lane. Bay Food Brokerage has enjoyed many high points. Here are some of our favorite milestones that we’ve marked along our 30-year journey.
Bay Food’s Journey
Business partners Cammie Chatterton and Mark Woolever founded Bay Food Brokerage in Tampa, Florida. The two partners saw an opportunity to focus on the perishable retail market, concentrating on meat and deli.They aimed to offer a better experience for the broker-retailer-manufacturer relationship than other food and beverage brokerage companies were providing. Opening Bay Food Brokerage made Cammie one of the first women – if not the first – to own a retail food brokerage company in the country.
First Client – Jennie-O
Having launched Bay Food without any clients, the first few months were a challenge for the fledgling business. Then, Bay Food Brokerage made an inroad with Jennie-O (now Jennie-O Turkey Store). Jennie-O signed on as Bay Food’s first client, and they remain a client today.
First Full-Time Employee Hired
After working with a few part-time employees, Cammie and Mark were ready to hire their first full-time employee. She joined as an Administrative Sales Assistant and was an integral part of the Bay Food team for over 25 years.Bay Food has continued growth and today employs over 60 dedicated professionals.
Moved into Our First Office in Austin Center in Tampa
After a couple of years working in a one-room office with a couch and fax machine, we moved into our first real office space. Austin Center in Tampa was our first home. Over the next 15 years or so, we moved to several different offices in the center to accommodate the company’s continued growth.
Chris Chatterton’s First Job with Bay Food
During summer break before his junior year at Jesuit High School, Cammie’s only child, Chris, started his first job with Bay Food Brokerage. He worked on Bay Food’s reset team at Publix. This experience gave him an insider’s perspective on what our retail representatives do on a daily basis for our clients and retail partners.
Chris Joins Bay Food Full Time
Chris attended the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, graduating with a degree in economics. After working in the financial sector for a couple of years in Tampa, Chris surprised Cammie when he said he wanted to join the family business.Cammie put Chris through the typical process for applying for a job at the company, including interviewing with multiple staff members. Bay Food hired him as an account analyst and retail director for sales representatives. Chris also brought many new ideas on how to grow the company.
Partners Buy First (and Current) Office Building
As the company expanded, Bay Food decided they needed a full-size test kitchen at their office. But that wasn’t possible at the location they were renting in 2013. So, Cammie and Mark decided it was time to buy an office building.Bay Food Brokerage purchased and still owns the office building at 5111 Memorial Highway in Tampa. The property was renovated to include a test kitchen and has expanded since then to include the neighboring building for additional staff.
Cammie Takes Full Ownership of Company
Mark Woolever retired, and Cammie became the outright owner of Bay Food Brokerage. From the beginning, the company earned, and still maintains, woman-owned business certification.
Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG)/Center Store Division Launches
Bay Food Brokerage expanded beyond the perishable market to also serve the center store retail market.Experienced CPG broker Gary Royal joined our retail food brokerage as Vice President of Sales and head of the new division.
Office in Carolinas Opens
When we expanded to other retailers in the Southeast beyond Publix, Bay Food needed a brick-and-mortar office outside of Florida. We opened a second office location, at 252 Latitude Lane in Wylie, South Carolina. It currently serves as home-base for the Account Executives we have working in the Carolinas.
Bay Food Wins Small Business of the Year Award
Our retail food brokerage won the Tampa Bay Chamber’s Small Business of the Year Award in the 21-50 employees category.The judges selected us as the winner based on our financial success, community involvement and ethical business practices. Here’s the video that played at the awards ceremony.
Chris Becomes Minority Owner in the Company
Ten years after he first joined the family business, Chris Chatterton became minority owner of the company.Today, as Executive Vice President, he works closely with Cammie on key initiatives. He will carry our retail food brokerage on to continued success after Cammie retires in 2025.
Bay Food Celebrates 30 Years
Since first opening our doors three decades ago, Bay Food Brokerage has seen steady growth. We’ve expanded from a two-person team focused on perishables and serving one area of Florida to a nearly 50-person retail food brokerage working with both perishable and CPG clients, and serving eight states throughout the Southeast U.S.
What is next for Bay Food?
Between now until March 30, 2024, we’ll celebrate this exciting milestone in a number of ways. We invite you to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and this blog to see news, updates and photos of all the festivities!
Looking for a retail food brokerage that has stood the test of time? Contact us today to learn how our wealth of experience can help grow your brand.