TRAVERSE CITY —Cherry Capital Foods gained an edge in winning a regional business award thanks to a staff that rallies around a fundamental mission, one of its leaders said.
“We want to change the way we eat in Michigan,” said Evan Smith, Chief of Operations for Traverse City-based Cherry Capital Foods. “When you have at your core a group of people that buy into a mission or direction, it is much easier to get your message across and make progress as an organization. People work a little harder. They take a little more pride.”
They win awards.
The Michigan Small Business Development Center named Cherry Capital Foods the best small business in Northwest Michigan for 2013, one of the 12 best in the state.
Cherry Capital Foods is a food distribution company that helps Michigan restaurants, schools and grocery stores source local products by representing numerous state farmers and food producers so those businesses don’t have to deal with a different farmer for each food.
“Farmers can stay on the farm, farming and doing what they do best,” Smith said. “We can give the wholesale person a single invoice and a wide variety of choice. I think that’s probably what sets us apart.”
Cherry Capital Foods is expanding this year and opening an office in Okemos so it can serve southeast Michigan.
It also is moving its Traverse City office to the former Glacier Dome, where it will team with the Grand Traverse Regional Foodshed Alliance to create a food innovation district where local producers can rent space, share expertise and make their products.
Smith said Cherry Capital Foods will continue to grow and help put Michigan food on Michigan plates because of its employees’ work.
“We have an incredible staff of people,” he said. “You don’t win one of these awards by having a good idea. You have to have a bunch of people who want to be a part of it.”