International Commodity Distributors (DBA Davis Lewis Orchards) has supplied healthy fruit and nut snacks to consumers via grocery stores and specialty markets nationwide for over 25 years.
Founder Roberta Davis-Lewis was a single mom raising two kids in 1990 when a friend convinced her she could start a business selling almonds from her 42 acres of almond trees in California’s Central Valley. Roberta took her friend’s advice, harvested the almonds and drove to Southern California seeking buyers. Before she knew it, Roberta began selling not only her goods, but also those of other local farmers. As business continued to grow, Roberta sought the assistance of experienced business professionals at the SBDC hosted by the University of La Verne for further guidance.
SBDC Business Advisor Malcolm Geffen helped Davis-Lewis restructure her business, put new financial controls in place, obtain a new loan to consolidate debt, establish HR policies and plan for projected growth.
Davis-Lewis will be adding a new line expected in national chains and will expand its private-label program to target boutique chains across the United States. Davis-Lewis projects revenue growth of 20 to 30 percent in the coming year, and by the second quarter of 2016, expects to have enough business to support hiring a second shift of employees. Her ultimate vision is to “own” the natural and organic category for fruit and nut snacks.
“Business today is the strongest it’s ever been,” says Davis-Lewis. “If it wasn’t for all [the help from the SBDC], I would not be here.” “I would highly recommend the services of the University of La Verne SBDC program to any business looking to grow or expand.”-Roberta Davis-Lewis, Founder, International Commodity Distributors, Inc.