Jake’s Finer Foods Serving Houston for 75 Years

Houston, Texas – From humble beginnings to what is now the largest and only family owned broadline food distributor headquartered in Houston, Jake’s Finer Foods will mark a year-long celebration of serving Houston for 75 years on May 23, 2021. From selling eggs door-to-door to today distributing more than 12,000 products sourced locally and globally, Jake’s takes pride in offering its customers unmatched quality, service and solutions.

In 1946, Army veteran Kervin “Jake” Jacob moved from his family farm in Carmine, Texas, to Houston, where he and his wife Louise set up home just north of White Oak Bayou. In a shed converted into an egg house in the backyard, they “candled” and packed fresh eggs that his brothers brought to town weekly. His first week’s route around the neighborhoods of West University saw the sale of just 11 dozen eggs. Not deterred, they persevered, growing the company with a commitment to service and freshness, and by reputation and hard work. His motto – “an egg to you – a reputation to us” – was emblazoned across the delivery trucks. Deliveries are now made across Texas and Louisiana.

The business grew and expanded quickly, selling eggs to dominant grocers such as Rice Epicurean Markets and Gerland’s. In the mid-1960s, Jacob expanded the product line to include ham, sausage and shortening, and moved operations to the Heights, where the company was located for nearly 40 years. Leonard Bench joined the business in 1967 and married Jacob’s daughter Linda one year later. Bench served Jake’s for 50 years and now serves as chairman of the board. Bench was instrumental in growing the company’s offerings and customer base, as well as setting the example of a visionary and hardworking, selfless leader. 

By the 1970s, Jake’s was buying companies that even further added to its broad product mix, including the 2011 acquisition of Gourmet Ranch, Jake’s custom-cut butcher shop. With fullservice butchery capabilities, Gourmet Ranch specializes in freshly cut chicken, custom-cut aged steaks, freshly ground beef and patties, and a range of value-added items such as cutlets and marinated fajita meat. Gourmet Ranch has since expanded its distribution of the finest custom-cut meats to Houston-area restaurants and chefs to now include online sales to individuals for enjoyment at home. Later this year, Gourmet Ranch will open a modern facility with enhanced capabilities that will allow the company to more than triple its production capacity.

Jake’s has a long list of faithful industry patrons and friends, including Ron’s Home Style Foods, also based in Houston. Brandon Woodall, Vice President, has said he’s not sure the company would have made it in the early years if it wasn’t for Jake’s loyalty.

“Jake’s was our very first foodservice distributor more than 35 years ago,” said Woodall. “Jake’s consistently proves to be trustworthy, knowledgeable and easy to do business with. We’ve been fortunate to share many successes together, and we expect to share many more.”

Jake’s is still run by family members. Patsy Sakowitz, the Jacobs’ daughter, has been an integral part of the company for 40 years and is also on the board of directors. Michael Bench, the Jacobs’ grandson, is President, and his brother-in-law Kevin Ullrich is CEO. Together they have taken the reins of the company, which distributes fresh food, produce, groceries and paper goods to customers from its eco-friendly 230,000 square foot distribution facility in northwest Houston. The state-of-the-art warehouse uses fulfillment technology featuring voice-pick technology and operates a fleet of modern, multi-temp trucks and trailers. The company will introduce customers to its newest technology investment this summer with the roll-out of My Jakes, a new multifunctional tool that allows customers to manage their business in a one-stop portal to place orders, pay bills and browse resources that include rebates, promotions, market reports and more.

“The success and longevity of Jake’s is rooted in our faith in God and exemplary service, which we continue to embrace as the foundation for all we do,” said Ullrich. “Jake’s is intensely committed to providing quality products, exceptional service and creative solutions for our valued customers that range from independent and multi-unit restaurants to retail grocery locations and schools.”

As a member of UniPro Foodservice, the largest foodservice distribution cooperative in the United States, Jake’s has access to more than 800 quality national brands and the largest buying capacity in the industry, allowing the company to buy competitively and pass on the savings to customers. 

“Our ability to serve our customers would not be possible without our team,” said Bench. “The dedication and effort that each team member at Jake’s puts forth every day is apparent and appreciated. We will move into the future with great confidence and servant leadership knowing that we are well equipped to accomplish our mission of glorifying God through His business.”

From its simple and humble start to today tapping into global trends, and national and local brands, Jake’s Finer Foods is a thriving family business that is led by faith – impacting lives and helping others achieve their goals.

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http://www.jakesfinerfoods.com   Jake’s Finer Foods is a family owned, Houston-based broadline distributor delivering quality food, exceptional service and custom solutions to foodservice providers throughout Texas and Louisiana since 1946. Jake’s services a wide range of industry segments, including independent restaurant operators, multi-unit chains, K-12 schools, retail grocery, daycares, caterers and corporate cafeterias. Its complete line of product offerings also includes fresh-cut, premium meats from Gourmet Ranch, Jake’s exclusive custom butcher shop.