Why Gordon Food Service?
120+ years of excellence, expertise and quality.
For over 120 years, we’ve delivered the excellence, expertise, and quality products our customers need to design successful food operations and experiences. We’ve grown to become the largest family-operated broadline food distribution company in North America by upholding the same business approach since 1897—being passionately committed to the people we serve.
Mission and Cornerstone Values
Our purpose is to serve our customers with the highest quality foodservice products and services. We achieve this purpose through innovative systems and the spirit and integrity of our people.
Our Cornerstone Values are the principles that guide every interaction, and how we evaluate our performance and measure our success.
Our customers come first. We’re driven to exceed their expectations by listening, leading, solving problems, and delivering what we promise.
The best relationships are founded on honesty, trust, and respect. We say what we will do, and then we do it.
Personal and professional growth depends on teamwork. By sharing knowledge, skills, ideas, and effort, we benefit our customers, ourselves, and our communities.
We play fair, but never lose sight of the goal to win. With that in mind, we execute our plans and strategies with focus, commitment, and passion.
We encourage productivity and efficiency, and there are rewards for jobs well done. Sometimes it’s a financial incentive, other times an award, always a genuine thank-you.
Our future depends on the success of each employee. In an atmosphere of dignity and diversity, our appreciation for each other’s talents and contributions keeps us at our best.
Strong relationships break down barriers and promote innovation and cooperation. By working as an open-minded, responsive team, we achieve excellence.
We understand that stewardship is a journey, not a destination. Our Annual Stewardship Report is a progress report - it holds us accountable and helps us strive to do more and do it better. We focus our efforts in four areas: Sustainable Operations, Responsible Sourcing, Empowering People and Supporting Community. We’re committed to continuous improvement and responsible growth and are excited to share our progress in our 2019 Annual Stewardship Report.
We strive to minimize the environmental impact of our facilities and fleet, effectively utilize renewable resources, and minimize operational waste throughout our business.
We strive to maintain a culture where all employees feel valued, respected and empowered to contribute, while providing a safe environment and opportunities to learn and grow.
We are proud to partner with suppliers who share our commitment to conducting business in a responsible manner and who offer a wide range of products and services that meet our high quality and safety standards.
We believe being in business is about more than making a profit. Caring for people and contributing to both local and international communities continues to be integral to who we are.
1994 - Present. Continued growth
With new distribution centers, and strategic acquisitions, the company expands and grows, becoming the largest privately-owned, family managed foodservice distributor in North America.
1993. Canadian expansion begins
The company begins servicing customers in Canada. Organic growth, and additional Canadian acquisitions in 1996 and 2003, would propel Gordon Food Service to become a nation-wide distributor.
1980. Automated sorting and selection system
The industry’s first automated sorting and shipping system is implemented at the 50th Street warehouse.
1979. First "Cash & Carry" store opens
The first "Cash & Carry" (now Gordon Food Service Store) opens in Grand Rapids as a convenience to regular delivery customers needing extra supplies.
1968. Two-trailer hookup system
Gordon Food Service initiates the two-trailer hookup system, an industry innovation that enables the food distribution company to cover a wider territory by truck rather than build more distribution centers.
1965. New generations of leadership
Paul Gordon becomes president and John Gordon is named secretary/treasurer. Their sons and grandchildren follow them into the business as the 4th and 5th generations of family leadership.
1960. Continued sales growth
Company sales reach an all-time high of $5,000,000. The Profit Sharing Plan is initiated, a cornerstone employee benefit.
1942. Company renamed Gordon Food Service
Isaac retires, and Ben and Frank reorganize and rename the corporation Gordon Food Service.
1933. Ben Gordon gains partnership
Ben and Isaac join in a partnership and form The Gordon-Van Cheese Company. Ben’s brother, Frank Gordon, joins the company in 1937.
1916. Ben Gordon joins the company
16-year-old Ben Gordon begins working for Isaac unloading margarine, candling eggs, bookkeeping, washing windows, and sweeping floors. He later marries Isaac's daughter, Ruth.
1914. First motorized delivery truck
Van Westenbrugge’s food service company is the first in Grand Rapids to have a motorized delivery truck.
1897. The beginning of Gordon Food Service
Isaac Van Westenbrugge, age 23, borrows $300 from his brother to start a butter and egg delivery business in Grand Rapids, MI.