Not very many produce distributors can boast that they’ve been in business for over 80 years! Originally known as the Tom Yee Company, our family business launched in 1938 and our founder Tom Chong’s great-great-grandchildren still run North American Produce Sales. We are so proud to run a company that values transparency, integrity and respect for our staff, customers and everyone we work with.
A Canadian immigrant, our founder “Mr. Tom” was a friendly, dependable supplier of fresh local produce and quickly became a respected businessman in Vancouver’s post-depression era boom. Mr. Tom supported his community by contributing to local causes and quickly integrated the Tom Yee Company into Vancouver’s growing Chinatown community.
Mr. Tom gave British Columbians the opportunity to enjoy exciting, exotic foods they’d never tried before, and the success of these products helped him maintain reliable and diverse produce supplier networks. In the late 1950’s, Mr. Tom celebrated an agreement with the Great Northern Railway to import the very first loads of Idaho potatoes into Canada, earning him the nickname “Potato King”. Mr. Tom’s reputation as an honest, friendly and hardworking entrepreneur earned him many loyal customers as well as respect from businesses and communities province-wide.
His impact on Vancouver’s culture was so strong that the company even found fame in literature. Well-known Canadian author Wayson Choy fondly recalled his childhood visits to “Mr. Yee’s vegetable shop” in his award winning autobiography. Choy describes how Mr. Tom’s store, its employees and customers became a fond keepsake of the community’s history and created the background for his eventual bestselling novels.
Today, the North American produce team includes several of Mr Tom’s descendants, whose commitment to maintaining the family business makes our suppliers and customers part of our family, too.
Mr. Tom’s commitment to quality produce, community involvement, and creating stable and diverse relationships with suppliers and customers has endured through four generations. Few companies have such a rich history and experience in the world of produce supply chain management, and even fewer are still family-owned, focused on sustainability and quality assurance.
Through decades of building our grower, supplier and customer networks, we have become more than just a seller of quality produce. We are partners in the success of the food service and retailers we do business with. Alongside our broad network of importers, we support local growers by making efforts to buy and distribute local produce. We work with businesses of all sizes, from small specialty retailers to Canada’s largest supermarkets, luxury cruise lines, and many restaurants.
Contact us and learn the difference that four generations of dedication to food safety and quality can make to your business.
We contribute to many charities and deserving causes, including BC Children’s Hospital and the Breast Cancer Society of Canada. We also love supporting young athletes and show that support through these sponsorships: