First ever Fresno Food Expo

FRESNO, California

Brady Matoian is continuing the family business operating OK Produce in downtown Fresno ... A wholesale distributor with over 300 retailers buying his food. In over three generations of ownership he said sales have never dropped so significantly. "We've had to be more creative in the last three years than ever in our history," said Matoian.

Matoian believes a big shot in the arm could next year in the form of a large food expo.

"And that's the way any community grows its economy is to make sure our exporters are doing better and that creates economic opportunities for our other industries," said Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin Monday afternoon.

Swearengin announced the plan to host the first ever 'Fresno Food Expo.' The event will give distributors like OK Produce a chance to meet with clients like out of state grocery stores and restauranteurs.

"The Fresno Food Expo will be an innovative event for our region and it provides increased trade and local exposure for the local food and related industries," said Bill Smittcamp, president and C.E.O. of Wawona Frozen Foods.

Smittcamp is on the expo advisory board along with Matoian. Both agree this event will expose the public to a behind the scenes look at distributing as well as networking and making new global business partners.

Matoian: "So the hope is we can come in and show things we can do for them maybe in a totally different part of their store. One may be frozen, one may be product, spices, one may be fresh."

On Wednesday over 3,000 invitations will be sent out across the United States and overseas. The Food Expo will be held at The Grand Friday March 11.

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