Smiths open wholesale outlet

PHOTO BY JIMMY FLINT Smith Family Foods owners Alex Smith (left) and Aaron Smith stack inventory at the company’s new wholesale outlet shop, 1773 W. CR 54, that opened last week.

Seneca County residents have a new option to purchase wholesale food products in Tiffin.

Aaron Smith, owner of Smith Family Foods, said the company opened a wholesale outlet shop at 1773 W. CR 54 last week. The store is to operate 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday.

He said the company is known for its food service distribution services, providing food products for restaurants, golf courses and other businesses within an 80-mile radius of Tiffin.

Smith said for the past year, leadership in the company had been debating the debut of a retail component.

“Customers were asking for certain products,” he said.

Alex Smith, Aaron’s brother and also an owner of the company, said the retail shop is a way to showcase some of the company’s popular products.

Aaron and Alex’s parents, Sue and Fritz Smith, bought the initial location of the business at 62 N. Monroe St. in 1984. From 1987-2007, a retail component of the store called Surf ‘n Turf Specialties operated at 300 S. Washington St.

Aaron Smith said his parents retired and sold the retail operation to their sons in 2007. In 2009, the brothers moved the food service distribution company from North Monroe Street to the present facility at 1773 W. CR 54.

Aaron Smith said the company has continued to expand and, based on customer request, they decided to open the wholesale shop.

He said the goal is to offer unique, high-quality items at an affordable price. Some items he mentioned include Granny Smith’s deli salads, chicken cordon bleu, hamburgers, chopped beef sticks and bratwurst.

Aaron Smith said they have taken traditional food-service bulk items and reduced the size for families.

“You get better bang for your buck,” he said. “People now have an alternative to driving out of town to take care of their family needs on the food side.”

“I think it brings restaurant-quality food to the home,” Alex Smith said.

Aaron Smith said a next-day fresh meat program is to launch soon, offering some products that were offered at Surf ‘n Turf.

He said prime rib, other meats and buckeyes will be offered fresh.

The store is to have core items always available, but will rotate seasonal items, and is to offer items in a clearance area and in the deep-freeze specialty discount section.

Aaron Smith said he hopes residents will give the shop a chance.

“The biggest thing, stop out and take a look for yourselves,” he said. “Come in and see for yourself.”

Alex Smith said the company’s website, smithfamilyfoods.net, is being updated to include information about the store.