Ivan Natividad

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June 6, 2014
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Grass Valley dairy expands in Whispering Pines

Gold Country Distributors, an independently owned Grass Valley wholesale food distributor, opened a new location on the 400 block of Crown Point Circle, several weeks ago, which will house members of the company’s expanding staff.

“We’ve gone from having six employees to having 18,” co-owner Charles Callahan said Wednesday. “We were all cramped up in a little cubby hole in the other office, but now there are too many people to fit into that office.”

While the company’s existing dairy facility on the 800 block of Whispering Pines Lanes will remain operational for all dairy and frozen products, Callahan said the company decided to occupy a second building, to house non-refrigerated inventory, due to the company’s recent growth and product diversification.

“Previously the business was primarily dairy, but we’ve expanded to other areas,” Callahan said. “We’ve got eight trucks going out everyday bringing out wholesale products to restaurants and businesses that sell a lot of different food products.”

The expansion will also provide additional space for data systems, allowing the company to buy in greater quantities and provide lower prices. Callahan said that new customers who haven’t registered with the company must pick up their first orders from the new facility, and that both of the company’s locations will be closed daily between the hours of noon and 1 p.m.

“We just want to make sure that people know where we are now,” Callahan said. “That’s something we wanted to make sure got out there to our old and new customers.”

Serving the Sierra foothills and Sacramento Valley, Gold Country Distributors was founded 20 years ago as a crystal cream and butter facility. The business was purchased in 2006 by Callahan and his business partner Rob Angell. The two businessmen previously owned Model Specialty, Inc., the largest volume model kit distributor on the West Coast.

After selling that business in 2001, Callahan and Angell set out to look for a lucrative business.

“We essentially wanted a business that was recession proof, and one where we didn’t have to compete with Walmart,” Callahan said. “And I think we’ve found it.”

Callahan has since expanded Gold Country Distributors into a complete food wholesaler providing dairy, ice and food service products throughout Nevada County, along with customers in Chico, Stockton, Reno and Berkeley. In 2007, the business expanded to start serving the Auburn area, and three years later they began to provide the YoCream frozen yogurt line, which has helped them to corner a section of the yogurt market, providing the complete lines of yogurt and ice cream toppings from TR Toppers, and Lyons Magnus.

Today, the company’s customers include schools, hospitals, convalescent homes, restaurants, jails, campgrounds, convenience stores, gas stations, ice cream shops, and coffee and frozen yogurt shops. The business is also the prime supplier for the Nevada County Fair’s “Treat Street.”

Offering free delivery in Grass Valley and Auburn, in 2012, Gold Country Distributors introduced its website, where customers can access their account online, check their statement, place their orders, research products, and use their own personal order guides at their leisure.

Callahan says that the company is looking to relocate both of the company’s facilities under one larger roof in two years, and that they will nonetheless continue to provide out-of-town business to the county.

“We are bringing millions of dollars into the local economy from businesses outside of the county,” Callahan said. “And that’s something our local economy needs.”

To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email inatividad@theunion.com or call 530-477-4236.

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The Union Updated Jun 6, 2014 09:45AM Published Jun 6, 2014 09:24PM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.