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309 Merchant Street - P.O. Box D     Emporia, KS        (800) 279-3826

 

 

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EVCO

Wholesale Food Corp.

309 Merchant St. - PO Box D

Emporia, KS  66801

(800) 279-3826

 

 

Emporia Wholesale Coffee Company & EVCO Wholesale Food Corp.

David Stone and Morris Maib were partners in a retail grocery business in 1910.  Newspaper articles give 1912 as the year when the partners established a coffee company serving Emporia and a small surrounding territory.  In 1915, C.J. “Mose” Neill  purchased the plant, even then known as Emporia Wholesale Coffee Company, a business venture that has had interesting phases.  As described in a 1931 Emporia Gazette article, one department employed up to 20 women in the winter months to produce one to two tons of chocolate peanut clusters daily.  These were sold in bulk to retailers in Kansas and surrounding states.  Candy bars and peanut brittle, plus fountain supplies, were also handled by the company.  Quality was tops as evidenced by the fact that, only a few years ago, a visitor traveling through the city looked up EWCC in hopes of “buying some of the best candy he could remember.”

      Another popular branch of the company was roasting and salting peanuts.  Contracted to the headquarters of S. H. Kress & Company, over a half-million pounds of peanuts had been sold by 1934.   Mr. Neill bragged he never shipped salted peanuts over 12 hours old.

      The most important and longest lasting segment of the business has been the roasting of coffee.  In 1933, the plant was producing 90,000 pounds of coffee monthly with equipment available to roast twice that much.  Six-O, Neill’s Amazing, and Kuality Kup were the company brands.  The firm also packed  private label brands for forty companies and sold in bulk.  The company had a contract for state institutions to furnish 200,000 pounds yearly.

      In 1938, new machinery was installed enabling the firm to pack the fresh roasted and ground coffee in glass vacuum packed containers, replacing a tin can pack method.  Mr. Neill showed his pride in what he felt a dream come true - the peak of perfection for Kuality Kup coffee - in an ad acknowledging a “600 percent increase in sales proving the success of this new way of packaging Kuality Kup.”

      During World War II coffee was rationed in the United States.  Emporians were tantalized by the smell of roasting coffee by the Emporia firm that received a government contract to roast 60,000 pounds of green coffee weekly to be shipped to overseas forces.  In addition to coffee, the company shipped approximately 50,000 pounds of chocolate peanut clusters weekly for consumption by those on the fighting front.

     Growth and expansion of the firm is evidenced by several moves into larger and larger buildings in the 300-400 blocks of Commercial and Merchant Streets in Emporia.  In 1945, the business was handling teas, coffees, spices, extracts, candies, restaurant and fountain supplies and equipment, with a payroll of 22 employees.

The end of an era:  Mose Neill died in February, 1955, at 70 years of age.  His interest in the company was purchased by W.J. “Wally” Evans from neighboring Chase County.  Moving from being a farmer and a dairyman to the owner of a coffee company was quite a challenge, especially since he didn’t drink coffee!  At this time, the company had four salesmen.

      In 1975, Charles “Skip” Evans bought the controlling interest in Emporia Wholesale Coffee Company and has been president of the “small company with a personal touch” ever since.  As the industry expanded, so did the company, developing product lines and sales as time progressed. Continual growth and expansion created the company known today as EVCO Wholesale Food Corporation. Under the leadership of the Evans family, EVCO continues to respond to the food service needs and  requirements of today’s food service operator. EVCO  provides jobs from Larned, in the middle of Kansas, east to the Missouri line.  Thirty diesel trucks with dual temperature compartment beds provide delivery to hundreds of customers.  The attractive red, white, and blue logo on the truck is a familiar sight on many roads with the large “EVCO Wholesale” standing out wherever they go.

            EVCO still grinds and packs “fresh” coffee on a daily basis, bringing the finest coffee beans to Kansas from all over the world. As the state’s second largest food service distributor, EVCO provides a broad line of products and services for the Hospitality Industry.  EVCO delivers the best in quality, service, and dependability, as Charles “Skip” Evans, President of EVCO,  still maintains our philosophy of “The Customer is King!”

Plans have been drawn for a new warehouse on a 25 acre plot in Emporia’s Industrial Park #2. Sunday, July 16, 2006 marked a historic moment for EVCO Wholesale Food Corp.  as the doors were opened and EVCO began shipping frozen groceries from a brand new freezer located at 3600 w. 6th avenue in Emporia's Industrial Park #2. The 40,000 square foot facility nearly doubled the refrigerated capacity for EVCO to continue to serve it's customers with quality products and service. EVCO Wholesale Food Corp. will continue the tradition of quality, service, and dependability - the keys to the longevity of the company.

 

 

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