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   Frieda's Inc. Honored With Family-Owned Business Award
by Hazel Kelly, Frieda's Inc.
Posted: Monday, November 30, 2009 at 11:24AM EST

LOS ALAMITOS, CA — Frieda’s Specialty Produce was presented with a Family Owned Business Award by the Orange County Business Journal and California State University-Fullerton's Family Business Council for its business success, family involvement and industry and community contributions. The 10th Annual Family Owned Business Award luncheon took place on November 19, 2009, at the Hyatt Regency in Irvine, Calif.

Orange County-based Frieda’s Inc., is a specialty produce wholesaler, distributor and marketer operated by sisters Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins, who purchased the company from their mother and founder, Frieda Caplan in 1990. Frieda founded the company in 1962 as a small stand at the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market. Today, Frieda’s Inc. is the premier distributor of specialty produce to supermarkets and foodservice distributors in North America.

Jackie Caplan Wiggins, Vice President and daughter of founder Frieda Caplan, accepted the award for Frieda’s Inc. "This is a great honor for our family, and for the whole Frieda’s company, because it is like a family to us," said Wiggins. "Mom is a great role model for me and my sister, Karen. She has said that one of her true joys was being able to work with her daughters, but it’s really our honor to work with her. She’s there six days a week, but she’d be there seven if we were open on Sundays!”

This year, 46 Orange County family firms were nominated for awards in 5 categories, and recipients were selected by a panel of judges comprised of representatives from the sponsoring organizations, as well as the Orange County Business Journal and Cal State Fullerton. Frieda’s won for the mid-size business category.

Frieda’s Inc. is known for its path-breaking role in introducing many exotic fruits and vegetables to produce departments, including Kiwifruit, Sunchokes®, Spaghetti Squash, Habanero Peppers, Sugar Snap Peas, and many more. Frieda Caplan, now 86, was also the first woman to own a wholesale produce business in the United States.

Frieda and her daughters are all active members of their community, having raised their children in Orange County and Long Beach, Calif., school districts. The Caplan women also serve as respected role models for women entrepreneurs and women in the produce industry, and are frequently asked to be keynote speakers and presenters at various business and industry events.

Other 2009 Orange County Business Award honorees include: National Equestrian Centers Inc., of Huntington Beach, Calif. (Small Business Award); Olen Properties, of Newport Beach, Calif. (Large Business Award); Hilgenfeld Mortuary, of Anaheim, Calif. (Longevity Award); and Silver Star Casting Co., of San Clemente, Calif. (Up & Coming Award).

Keynote Speaker for the luncheon was Andrew Truett Cathy, Human Resource Consultant and grandson S. Truett Cathy, founder of fast food franchise Chick-fil-A, Inc.

Source: Frieda's Inc.

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