It all started with a dream and a little red station wagon.
After working for Prairie Farms for 11 years, Robert Tracy wanted to go into business for himself, give customers access to affordable products, and help manufacturers get more sales. It was a bit of a farfetched dream; he and his wife Dorothy had very little funds to start the company---and they had eight children at home to support.
But in 1960, with Dorothy's support, he started Associated Dairy Products Co. (now Dot Foods, Inc.) out of the back of their family station wagon, a 14-year-old Cessna airplane, and leased tractor.
The advantages of RT's business model became apparent to distributors and manufacturers: the customer placed one order, took one delivery, and processed one invoice---all from Dot Foods.
Manufacturers benefitted by being able to provide better service to their existing customers and gain new customers they couldn't previously serve.
"The (companies) we sold to preferred frequent deliveries, and often ran short of warehouse space. They liked being able to place 5,000- to 10,000-pound orders, rather than being forced to buy by the truckload," Robert Tracy explained years before his passing in 2006. "When we started, we would tell dairy people: when you buy from us, you can buy 10 different products with one delivery. That lets you manage your inventory at a lower level and saves you money."
RT and Dorothy didn't set out to create a new business model in food distribution, but that's what they did.
Today's food redistribution industry is a direct evolution of that dream, and our small family business has grown to be the largest food industry redistributor in North America. In 2018, we partnered with 900 manufacturers and supplied product in less-than-truckload (LTL) quantities to 4,500 customers in all 50 states and 39 countries.
We employ more than 5,300 employees across the country. And each year we add more employees and grow our business. Even in down years, we see growth due to the tireless work of our employees and their commitment to helping improve our customers' and manufacturers' businesses.
"Everything that has made Dot what it is today has been a collective endeavor, and if there's one thing you can say about all of us, it's that growth is in our DNA. It's what we do. We're confident that the core values, culture, and dedication that Mom and Dad instilled will carry Dot successfully through another 60 years or more," says Executive Chairman John Tracy.
See how Dot Foods removes costs and complexities out of the supply chain, helping to improve service for all parties involved.
Find out for yourself exactly what food redistribution is and how Dot's business model works.
With 11 distribution centers, Dot maintains a presence in every region of the country.