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Get Ready For National Coffee Day on September, 29th 2018

September 7, 2018

Have you felt it?

The cool, crisp air that persists past noon, the glowing orange of Pumpkin Spice-everything, the soft patter of UGG boots across concrete…It must be COFFEE SEASON! It is the time of year soda sales begin to take a back seat to an uptick in your hot beverage sales. Do you have what it takes to take advantage of the season?

Over 60% of all adults in the U.S. drink coffee daily – and the average consumption increases +30% between September-February. With that increased traffic, the factors that influence consumer traffic becomes much more visible.

Coffee consumers have become increasingly aware of what they’re drinking, not just the price of what they’re drinking. In addition, the options to customize beverages have become a driving factor to all of us. Yes, the days of a cheap cup of coffee are buried next to bell-bottom jeans and my childhood dreams of being an astronaut.

The point is this: customers have many options when it comes to choosing where to buy their coffee. To recognize and adapt to this rising competition means growth potential in the category. Sales data shows that the right program & products can increase annual sales by +12-27%!

What does the “right program” look like for you? While the answer looks different in every market, some common themes emerge:

  • High quality coffee
  • Coffee Variety (multiple options, roasts & blends)
  • Customization options (i.e. creamers, sweeteners, flavorings)
  • A loyalty program (Buy 5 Get 1 Free)

Daily coffee consumption is increasing +6% each year! You owe it to your customers (and your bottom line) to take a look at what you offer and why you offer your current beverage products.


National Coffee Day is right around the corner on Saturday, September 29th. Make sure and have your store ready by having the best coffee, and coffee selection for your customers!

Get To Know Brakebush

September 7, 2018

In 1925, Bill and Otto Brakebush bought a Chevy truck and went into business buying and reselling eggs.  From Westfield, Wisconsin, they delivered their product to Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago.  Bill and Otto started more than a business, they established a proud tradition, one that would thrive and grow into the next century.

Today, Brakebush remains a family owned company under the leadership of Carl Brakebush.  Third generation family members hold key management positions in the company including Purchasing; Research & Development; Operations; IT; Facilities Management and Transportation.

Commitment to reinvest in the company through multiple plant expansions; installation of state-of-the-art equipment, and its people have secured jobs for over 1,900 team members.

Brakebush continues to be guided by the principles of trust, honesty and respect for fellow employees, integrity, forgiveness and commitment.

Brakebush has had a long record of success and its product line continues to expand to meet the changing demands of its customers.    The company vision is to be the leading US family owned supplier of great tasting chicken to the food industry

Brakebush Brothers family business started with one truck in 1925.  Farming sandy soil had its challenges so the brothers took an entrepreneurial risk to begin taking local livestock and poultry to major markets in Madison and Milwaukee.

As their business grew, they bought eggs from local grocers and sold them where greater demand existed.   In a logical next move, Brakebush began picking up live poultry, dressing and freezing it as a service to their customers.   A dressing and freezing facility was built and this started Brakebush in the food industry.

What started with one truck has grown to a fleet of over 35 with product produced in three production facilities (a fourth in Mocksville, North Carolina will be up and running in spring 2019)

Today Brakebush continues to provide the highest quality chicken products to the food service industry.

50% of the third generation is involved in key management positions within the company.

A love for transportation from its founders has allowed Brakebush to branch off a separate trucking and transportation business.   Under the leadership of Carey Brakebush, Brakebush Transportation now has a fleet of trailers handling the majority of company shipments plus work with other Wisconsin based food companies assisting them with their transportation needs.

The same values that drive the Brakebush business also drive their community involvement.   These values are past down to family members and future generations.

Brakebush currently employs 1100 people in Westfield; 725 at its Irving, Texas location and 75 at the Wells, Mn. facility.  165 or 15% of Westfield team members have been with the company for 20+ years.

The family also feels it’s important to give back and does this through programs like Feeding America and the American Cancer Society; and contributions to local fire and rescue departments and food pantries.  Brakebush serves as the Wisconsin branch for Orphan Grain Train.  Through its support, 42 truckloads of food, clothing and medical supplies were shipped to locations around the world.   In fact, 10% of net income goes to charity via a family charitable trust.

Located in a small town with a population of 1,250, it’s important to both Brakebush and the community to provide local employment.  Additionally, the company believes in being active and supportive in their communities through volunteerism.

Brakebush customers prosper through innovative solutions and highly personalized relationships. Brakebush treats its customers, suppliers, employees and all people associated with the business as they wish to be treated; be socially responsible; and work to continuously improve all aspects of the business.

Brakebush prides itself on purchasing supplies and raw materials from local and Wisconsin companies.  100% of pallets, boxes and labels and 40% of seasonings are purchased from Wisconsin based companies.

Being an agricultural company, the family understands its impact and responsibility to the environment and local communities.   With over 2000 acres of forest and farmland, Brakebush has a negative carbon footprint and has many other sustainability initiatives in place.

Winning with Coffee

August 29, 2018

Whether it’s served by a barista, or made by a well-designed brewing machine, good coffee helps c-store sales flow.

The U.S. retail value growth for ready-to-drink coffees is projected to reach nearly $1.6 billion between 2017 and 2022, according to Euromonitor International. Conversely, cold brew has experienced 150% revenue growth in the past year.

Despite those impressive growth tracks, quality hot coffee programs are helping drive convenience store foodservice sales.

Fresh coffee remains a hot prospect in convenience stores, even in the face of newer innovations in the packaged coffee arena, according to industry experts and convenience store managers.

In 2017, hot dispensed beverages were the second largest category in foodservice at 14% of sales, according to data from the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) State of the Industry Report for 2017. Coffee continued to lead this category, making up 58.6% of sales, followed by cappuccino (18.5%) and refills (12.2%). Competition for convenience store retailers in hot dispensed beverages comes primarily from quick-service restaurants (QSR).

The cappuccino subcategory has performed strongly between 2015 and 2017, and it showed improvement in 2017 in average store sales, gross profit dollars and gross margin percentage. Customers want their coffee fresh, affordable and consistent, according to NACS.

Specialty hot coffee is also a rising star in the coffee world, according to data from the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). The market share of specialty coffee, in cups, increased from 40% in 2010 to 59% in 2017, with an average of three cups consumed per day, per drinker.

Coffee consultant Bruce Milletto, president of Portland, Ore.-based Bellissimo Coffee Advisors, sees a tremendous opportunity for convenience stores to tap into the specialty coffee market.

“In the last five years, convenience stores have raised the bar on quality of coffee they serve,” said Milletto. “They’ve seen the many advantages of premium coffee given the fact that people will stop in to get coffee, and end up getting something else.”

Milletto noted that coffee provides a high-profit margin way to draw traffic into the store, but emphasizes the importance of quality and freshness in convenience store coffee.

“Once a customer has had a great cup of coffee, their palate remembers that, and they aren’t going back to drinking poorly made coffee that’s been left out for hours,” said Milletto.

In fact, a quality hot coffee bar is a way to draw more customer traffic to the convenience store.

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Customer Feature: Topp Stop

August 6, 2018

Topp Stop, located in Toppenish in Eastern Washington, has been in business since 2003 after owner Faron Young purchased the location, taking over a previous AMPM location. When the store first opened they sold mostly lottery tickets and beer, but over the years this has evolved, and has changed their sales to be mostly focused on tobacco and their deli.

Topp Stop has been a Harbor customer since 2017. Per the Store Manager, Val, the transition to Harbor was easy, and at a competitive price with great service, resulting in more retail profitability. When first signing on with Harbor, Topp Stop chose to take part in the Harbor Store Solutions program and have their store reset. During the store reset, a product matchup took place, ensuring that Topp Stop was set with the best products and in the right locations. Val said that the store reset helped their store flow better, helping their customers find items easily, resulting in increased sales.

Since teaming up with Harbor, Topp Stop has seen a 4% increase in floor sales. Harbor has also helped them to grow their deli program by 9%. Topp Stopp has dramatically increased their deli offerings, by adding BirdShack Chicken and Tyson/Windsor Asian food programs. Harbor has been able to successfully help Topp Stop implement new, innovative ideas in their deli to grow their business.

In December 2017, Topp Stop decided to replace their coffee program with Java Classics. They worked with their Territory Sales Manager, Adam Roll, Foodservice Sales Developer, James Caldwell, and Java Tech, Jeremiah Pavel, to reset their coffee program. Harbor’s Marketing and Graphics department were also able to help create graphics to make their coffee set stand out. The eye-catching branding on their coffee set helps to differentiate Topp Stopp from the competition, and customers love the change.

Topp Stop is a unique store, as they are located on the Yakima Indian Reservation with five other gas stations on their block, and a Safeway next door. They have separated themselves with competitive prices and a great staff that provides exceptional service. Their service keeps customers coming back, as well as their product selection, deli program and coffee set making their store a destination. Thank you Topp Stopp for being a loyal Harbor customer!

Coffee Set Before

Coffee Set After

New Items From General Mills Convenience & Foodservice!

August 6, 2018

General Mills Convenience is bringing one of America’s favorite snack items to the foodservice area of convenience stores! Totino’s™ Pizza Rolls, small bites of pepperoni pizza rolled in a snackable crust, allows retailers to offer their customers a hot, ready-to-eat snack option from a nostalgic brand. The packaging, exclusive to convenience stores, features two opening options for easy on-the-go eating.  Branded sleeves come in the master case, and hold 8 pizza rolls each!

Totino’s Pizza Rolls Item Number 8750090


Whole sausage patty, real egg omelet, and cheddar cheese sealed neatly in a crispy, sweet maple flavored Belgian-style waffle. High quality ingredients provide superior taste in a unique, innovative new format that meets the growing demand of hot n’ ready handheld breakfast items!  Branded sleeves come in the master case, and hold one stuffed waffle per sleeve!

Pillsbury Stuffed Waffles Item Number 8830010


It’s Grilling Season!

July 9, 2018

The sun is shining, the weather is warmer, and people are outside cooking up tasty meals on the grill! When it comes to grilling, nothing is more important than good charcoal, and Kingsford has you covered from lighter fluid, to flavored charcoal briquettes.

Kingsford Charcoal has been made in the USA, with North American ingredients, wince 1919. Kingsford is also the leading manufacturer of charcoal in the United States, converting more than one million tons of wood scraps into charcoal briquettes each year. Kingsford is the original taste of summer, and it’s been the gold standard of grilling for nearly 100 years. Each briquet is made with natural ingredients and real wood to ensure the smoky flavor barbecue lover crave.

Let your customer take their grilling to the next level by stocking your store with Kingsford charcoal products. Harbor carries a variety of Kingsford products, ensuring that you can bring in the best selection for your customers. Talk to your Harbor Rep or check out page 11 of the July promo book to learn more.

Breakfast breaking the morning meal mold

June 19, 2018

Breakfast is breaking free of its morning meal-only reputation. Consumers’ free-form dining habits are inspiring restaurants to create menus adaptable across mealtimes, according to Packaged Facts’ recent report, “Breakfast and breakfast foods all day: Culinary tracking series.”

A prominent example is McDonald’s all-day breakfast menu, which launched in late 2015. The chain now features typical breakfast-only offerings such as sausage and egg muffins, hash browns, pancakes and breakfast burritos throughout the day, along with its McCafé beverage menu, which includes espresso beverages and new cold-brew frozen coffee.

The all-day breakfast trend has also spurred the growth of “hipster-baiting cereal cafes,” Packaged Facts said, such as Kellogg Co.’s Kellogg’s NYC cereal café in New York. The menu features a do-it-

yourself cereal bar with more than 30 toppings, specialty cereal drinks and ice cream sandwiches made with Pop-Tarts. The location even offers an Instagram station where customers may design a set and style their bowl of cereal before photographing it and sharing it on social media.

As breakfast foods branch beyond the morning daypart, new incarnations of biscuits, donuts, waffles and pancakes have also arisen as “artisanal expressions of a new generation’s creativity” that may be eaten at any time of day, Packaged Facts said. Red Robin Gourmet Burgers & Brews, for example, previously served a limited-time chicken and waffles burger called The Bee’s Knees Chicken Finest. The sandwich featured tempura-fried chicken breast glazed in Angry Orchard honey, jalapeño relish, citrus-marinated tomatoes, onions and shredded romaine lettuce on a Belgian waffle bun.

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Upgrade Your Foodservice

June 6, 2018

The Harbor Foodservice team is bringing you an easy way to upgrade your foodservice game this month.  In partnership with Prairie City Bakery we are offering a brand-new item, the Maple Sandwich Waffle!  This is a buttery maple waffle that is made the traditional Liege way with rich, whole wheat brioche batter.  It’s deliciously sweet and perfect for the breakfast day part.

The key for this foodservice treat is to pair it with sausage and egg patties to create the perfect item that can be a signature taste on your menu.  Using just a microwave or oven this easy to make sandwich is ready in just minutes.  No fork, no syrup, no mess.

With chain restaurants introducing their own takes on this classic flavor, replace the sausage patty with a crispy chicken patty from Brakebush Chicken to capitalize on the trend and take advantage of the increased traffic looking for breakfast this summer.

This is not a grab and go sandwich and must be made from scratch ingredients, all available through Harbor.

-Upgrade your current breakfast offering

-Chicken and waffles is a trending breakfast flavor

-NOT a grab and go sandwich. This is something you make

-Using just a microwave and key ingredients all available through Harbor



Staying On Trend – Cold Brew Coffee

May 31, 2018

By Stephen Zirschky, Coffee Program Manager

Did you know the hottest drink trend in the market right now comes over ice? If you haven’t heard the news yet, Cold Brew is in – and it’s here to stay.

Cold Brew Coffee is the term given to ice coffee that has been brewed or steeped over 12-20 hours in cool/tepid water. This results in a richer, smoother taste with no bitterness and nearly double the caffeine content of other ice coffee options. Since 2010, the cold brew market has grown 338%, with a projected 2018 growth of +149%. This represents the fastest growing beverage trend out there!

To help address this exploding market, Harbor has launched a full Cold Brew Program with low entry cost, little labor, and a robust 62% profit margin!

If you’d like to get started, all you will need is 18” of counter space and access to dispensed ice. For more information on how you can ‘caffeinate’ your summer coffee sales, inquire about this program with your local Harbor Rep!


Sunscreen Sales & Summer

May 3, 2018

Sunscreens is one of the fastest growing categories of skin care due to the increasing global awareness regarding the impact and damage that the sun can have on unprotected skin. Consumers show increasing awareness that their skin needs all the helps it can get, not just by the application of the sunscreen, but also by helping the skin better deal with the sunlight in general.

UVA and UVB rays are ultraviolet radiation (part of the light spectrum) that comes from the sun. Ultraviolet rays are shorter than visible light, which is why you can’t see them with your naked eye. UVB rays hit your skin’s surface and can turn you lobster-red. Ouch! UVA rays have longer wavelengths than UVB and can penetrate deeper into your skin causing aging and long-term damange. Both UVA and UVB rays can cause cancer. Double ouch!

How can you and your customers protect yourselves from the sun’s harmful rays?

  1. Avoid the sun’s strongest rays and seek shade between 10AM and 4PM.
  2. Sunscreen doesn’t have seasonal preference; Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring rays are all the same. Wear sunscreen all year round.
  3. Listed and look; Don’t neglect your eyes, lips and nose. These facial areas are often overlooked and need coverage too.
  4. Watch our for tracker’s arms! Your left arm often rests on the door ledge by the window when you drive. Arm yourself with sunscreen.


Harbor Wholesale Foods carries Banana Boat products that offer a wide range of sunscreen options so your customers don’t have to worry about getting sunburn this summer. These products include:

284009 – Banana Boat Aloe Vera Gel

2840016 – Banana Boat Kids FC Mist SPF50

284000 – Banana Boat Lip Balm F/B SPF45

2840871 – Banana Boat SPF 30 Bowl

2840003 – Banana Boat Sport SPF30 24ct

2840012 – Banana Boat Sprt Prf Ltn SPF30