Our Story: Melissa's / World Variety Produce

The Melissa's/World Variety Produce Story
"Delivering The Global Market"

 Los Angeles, California (2011) – Think tasty, creamy, tangy, aromatic, tart, sweet, crunchy and delectable. Within the 200,000 square feet of the Melissa's/World Variety Produce, Inc. warehouse, you’re sure to find the freshest fruits and vegetables – quality products with exceptional value and first-class service.
Established in 1984, Melissa's/World Variety Produce, Inc. is currently the largest distributor of specialty produce in the United States. With over 1000 items available at any given time, Melissa’s imports and distributes exotic fresh fruits and vegetables from around the globe.
Located in the Vernon district of Los Angeles, California, World Variety Produce began strictly as a source of specialty produce. In recent years, the company has incorporated a "one-stop shopping" concept. Customers can buy not only specialty items, but also staples like Idaho potatoes, French beans and Melissa’s full line of organic produce. President Joe Hernandez often seeks out and frequently tests new and novel specialty produce items. Of course, the company is more commonly known for its extensive specialty lines including Dried Fruits (like mango, kiwifruit, and papaya), Fresh Exotics (like feijoa, cherimoya, pepino and kiwano melons), Gourmet Grains (Couscous, Quinoa, Tabbouleh) and more.
As the product line grows, so does the company. World Variety Produce has rapidly expanded since its first year (over twenty years). The statistics are impressive: Hernandez, a Texas native, founded the business with a decade of produce industry experience in a small, rented produce warehouse lunchroom. The original office had one telephone and two chairs -- no one could have guessed that, within a few short years, the company would occupy a newly renovated and expanded 200,000 square foot office, warehouse complex, and state-of-the-art HACCP Food Safety and CCOF  Certified Organic Packing Facility.
World Variety Produce, Inc. markets product under specially-developed brand names: Melissa's®, Don Enrique®, and Jo-San® brand. Consumers everywhere recognize the Melissa's logo, in cheerful red with a carrot standing in for the letter "I." In 1986, seeking a more inviting label than possible with the World Variety corporate identity, Hernandez named this well-known brand after his daughter. Melissa Hernandez has recently taken an active role in the business. Periodically, she appears at the industry conventions and press events as a company spokesperson -- and yes, even in her late 20's, she knows the product line very well.
Family is a big part of World Variety’s success. Through the years, the company has found stable growth thanks to the support of very loyal customers and a close-knit family of employees dedicated to customer service. After all, Hernandez has made the company philosophy straightforward: "Give the customers what they want and keep them happy."
World Variety is committed to industry and consumer education about specialty produce. Product headers include recipes, serving suggestions, and nutritional information. "Wet Tags" attached to bulk produce items include a PLU number for fast, accurate check-out and offer general product information. Melissa’s easy-to-navigate Web site is updated monthly with features and recipes that are easy and convenient. But more important than these educational trademarks, a Melissa's/World Variety Produce employee -- ready to track down those hard-to-find items -- can answer questions about specialty produce items toll-free at (800) 588-0151.
Melissa's/World Variety Produce, Inc. will continue with its product innovations and customer-satisfying service. "You can never slack off," says Hernandez. "...the little guys will catch up if you get over-confident. You can count on World Variety for the Freshest Ideas in Produce. The tag line -- more than good advertising -- is a company promise to provide product and service beyond expectation.”

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