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Great American Seafood Imports Co. eyes fresh expansion with new plant

Group aims to be in significantly larger LA-based facility by end of year.

Los Angeles-based seafood supplier Great American Seafood Imports Company is nearing completion of a new Carson, California-based plant that will nearly triple the company’s capacity in the area.

The new plant is part of an expansion effort in particular on the company’s fresh offerings, according to Butch Vidrine, senior director of sales and marketing at Great American.

“You’re going to see more and more fresh with this new facility,” Vidrine told IntraFish.

Great American has built is operation primarily on the frozen segment, where it has a dominant presence in several categories. Four of the top 10 bagged items are supplied by Great American, and the company is the largest supplier of bagged product to retail in the country.

“Our long-term goal now is, ‘How do we do more?’” Vidrine said.

Great American’s new facility will be 150,000 square feet -- three times the size of the existing facility, and will have hand cutting lines, machines, test kitchens and cold storage.

The company built its reputation on hand-cutting, Vidrine said, and part of the service the company is providing with its fresh program is training the end-user.

“How many companies have teams that can go out there and do that?” he said. “Nobody is teaching the user. We’re going to keep that going.”

Great American has product distributed nationwide, but the company aims to expand its footprint well beyond its existing one, which is currently served out of the LA facility, and a facility in Salt Lake City as well.

“Let’s face it,” Vidrine said. “There are a lot of people selling out there. If you’re not growing, you need to acquire.”

The company sells approximately $300 million (€265.3 million) annually.

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