Profile 2016_Clusters.qxp_Layout 1 6/13/16 9:49 AM Page 54
I N D U S T R Y
C L U S T E R S
A Leader in Food Service Distribution Since 1925 A home-grown Palm Beach County success story, Cheney Brothers, Inc. (C-B-I) has grown through the decades to become one of the state’s largest privately owned companies with sales exceeding $1.5 billion. From its headquarters in Riviera Beach, Cheney Brothers serves customers throughout Florida, the Southeast U.S. and the Caribbean, handling more than 15,000 different food, paper and cleaning products. “While many things in Florida have changed over the years, we have always built our food distribution business on the basis of personal relationships,” said Byron Russell, CEO. “Our employees are members of the Cheney family, and our customers are our friends.” Cheney Brothers has been serving South Florida for more than 90 years, since Joe Cheney opened a facility in West Palm Beach in 1925. The company remained a leader in the food distribution sector through the Great Depression and World War II, growing to meet the area’s expanding post-war population. Russell, Cheney’s grandson, joined the company as a buyer and warehouse manager in 1976 and became CEO five years later. “When I grew up, there was a really defined tourist season on the East Coast of Florida,” Russell said. “You would plan your inventory and work schedules based on when the tourists would be coming to South Florida. Now, there is a flow of visitors throughout the year, and most restaurants stay open.”
With a central location for Florida’s largest population centers and convenient access to world markets, Palm Beach County is a logical choice for logistics and distribution companies. Currently, the county is home to 14 distribution centers occupying over 3.2 million square feet.
During the 1990s, the company’s growth accelerated with its first annual Food Show at the Palm Beach County Convention Center, bringing in hundreds of new food customers. Today, Cheney Brothers has two major annual food shows in the state, with attendance of more than 7,000 purchasers for each event. After the advent of the 21st century, Cheney Brothers opened a 550,000 square-foot distribution center in Ocala, a Kitchen Design Center in Riviera Beach and a processing facility in Orlando, creating the Bari Beef International (BBI) brand with the acquisition of Orlando Food Service & Bari Italian Foods. Today, Cheney Brothers’ exclusive brands include Grand Western Steaks, Belgium Nuts & Candy Company and Belgium Butter Company, Bari Beef International, Duck Deli Meats, Acento-Latino Foods, Fronte-Italian Foods and Cheney Brothers Estate Coffees. Noting the company’s longtime leadership in technology, Russell said, “Careful fleet tracking is critical in the food distribution business. Customers demand that the freshest inventory arrives at the predetermined time in the very best condition. Cheney Brothers takes pride in our on-time deliveries which can be traced to our superior driver training, state-ofthe-art GPS tracking systems and our dedication to provide the very best service for our customers.” On October 23, 2015, Governor Rick Scott
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54 PALM BEACH COUNTY BUSINESS PROFILE | BDB.ORG
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PROFILE, now in its 26th year of publication, is recognized as the business annual of record for Palm Beach County, Florida. This premier, a...