Convienent store distributors
December 3, 2009 1:21 PM   Subscribe

Where do the small deli shops and convenient stores by their stuff from?

What are their distributors? In general and specific NYC/NJ. Any advice is appreciated.
posted by yoyo_nyc to Food & Drink (9 answers total)
Sam's Club. Costco. Gordon Food Service.
posted by royalsong at 1:23 PM on December 3, 2009

Lucky for you, This American Life featured a long story on this very subject in their most recent episode.
Act One. Orange You Glad I Didn’t Say Banana?

Adam Davidson and Chana Joffe-Walt from Planet Money head to the Hunts Point Market in the Bronx, a bustling area of vegetable and fruit commerce that only comes alive at night. (13 minutes)
posted by eggplantplacebo at 1:26 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

The corner store near me (which doesn't carry produce) gets all their soda/paper towels/Cup-a-Soups etc. from Costco.
posted by rtha at 1:31 PM on December 3, 2009

They often get stuff from the same place larger stores do. I work for a beverage distributor and we deliver to delis and small family owned convenience stores all the time.
posted by something something at 1:41 PM on December 3, 2009

Most Deli Shoppes will purchase their food from Food Service Distributors. These are companies that specialize in locations where dining is away from home. Generally these companies do not deal with the traditional retail stores. They concentrate on Schools, Restaurants, Nursing Homes, Hospitals, Day Care, ect. Some of the more popular distributors are Sysco, US Foods, & White Swan.
posted by Mckoan1 at 1:51 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

It's not NY/J but I see these trucks all the time at c-stores. I would guess that most have accounts with this kind of distributor for the bulk of their inventory and only use Sam's/Costco to fill the odd hole.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 2:47 PM on December 3, 2009

My parents, who own a Shell-branded service station with a small convenience store, get pretty much all their shelf stuff - candy, snacks, drinks, even cigarettes - at Costco. They used to use a small local distributor, but ultimately decided that it was way more cost-effective for them to just go to Costco every Tuesday. I think they only used the distributor because he was also Korean and a member of their church, anyway.

The few food items that they have - doughnuts, these awesome dough-wrapped sausage things, various kinds of pan - come from a Korean bakery that's owned by friends of theirs.

I would bet that lots of small convenience stores, particularly those owed by immigrants, have at least some of their goods coming from this kind of arrangement, with no formal distribution system and maybe even at no great profit. My parents don't sell a whole lot of melon pan but they do it to help their friends out.
posted by peachfuzz at 2:49 PM on December 3, 2009

specific to new york: the big food service distributors mentioned above, costco/sam's club, restaurant depot, even local small wholesale warehouses. some companies, from big international ones like coca cola and haagen dazs to teeny tiny ones like mamita's ices from queens, do their own delivery.
posted by lia at 3:54 PM on December 3, 2009

Seen at Virginia 7-11 stores: McLane
posted by djb at 4:57 PM on December 3, 2009

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