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Garnand Marketing, LLC was founded in November of 1971. It was the culmination of a lifelong dream for Vay and Gary Garnand. The two had always dreamed of owning their own business together and in 1971 it happened.

The history of Garnand Marketing, LLC goes back actually to the early 50’s and beyond. Robert E. Lee Garnand, my grandfather, was involved in the early years of the Idaho potato and bean industry. After World War ll when Vay R. Garnand returned home Robert wanted to start his own potato and onion business. He asked Vay to go to Blackfoot, Idaho and begin the preparations for the business. Not long after Vay and family had moved to Blackfoot Robert died. Vay became a buyer for a potato warehouse in the Blackfoot area. He started with Stewart Produce where he was the field buyer for several years. In 1960, he became the field buyer and warehouse manager for Idaho Potato Packers. IPP was at that time a major shipper but they also had a New York repack plant that was one of the largest in the United States. Vay also became their buyer of potatoes and onions from the west. He would travel to California and Washington in the summer to purchase potatoes and onions for their repacking facility in New York.

To raise money for college, Gary spent most of his high school years working in the Idaho Potato Packers warehouse loading rail cars, cleaning up, driving truck and just learning about how potato packing operations run. Idaho Potato Packers was a leader in innovation because they would try new items to increase sales, such as a foil wrap line and specialty packed cartons. All of these efforts were a foundation for Gary’s learning. In the summer of 1964, Gary begin to work with the Charles E. Gilb Company. First in the packing operation and then in the office. This began a lifelong mentoring program with Charles Gilb that continued until Charles’s passing in 2008. It is here were Gary developed an excitement about selling potatoes and the produce industry in general. He worked every summer with the Gilb organization until 1969 when we worked for Pete Taggares at Chef Reddy Foods in Othello, Washington. Here Gary was exposed to the entire potato processing industry from field-man to shift supervision.

At Christmas time 1969, Gary graduated from the University of Idaho with a business degree and became a full time employee of Chef Reddy Foods. He was in the transportation and marketing department where he worked with rail and truck companies as well as sales to the various customers of Chef Reddy. Gary remained with Chef Reddy until November of 1971.

In November 1971, Gary was hired as the salesman for American Falls Produce Company owned by John Yamagata, a large farmer in the area. About the same time, Gary and Vay started Garnand Produce in Firth, Idaho. A family and business friend , Cy Holden, contacted Gary to see if he were interested in working in the California potato deal after the Idaho crop was finished. Gary jumped at the chance and went to work with Jim Moquist at Gold Ribbon Potato company in Arvin, California. While Gary was working on the sales program for Gold Ribbon, Bob Lewis another family friend, approached Vay and Gary about selling for a Washington potato shipper that was just getting started. Harvest Fresh Produce was opened in the summer of 1972 in Othello, Washington. Next came the opportunity to sell for ARZ Potato in Hermiston, Oregon. Vay handled the sales for ARZ and Gary handled Harvest Fresh. Quincy Produce and the Potato Factory plus other onion and potato packing plants followed. Vay and Gary together were by 1978 selling for three potato packers and two onion packers in Washington and Oregon. Maxine Garnand joined the company full time in the summer of 1972 as bookkeeper and office specialist. She would remain active in the company until her retirement in 2004.

In 1984, Vay and Gary decided to consolidate their sales program and move to Twin Falls, Idaho. It was a big decision because it meant giving up the lucrative sales deals in Washington and Oregon and change the direction of the company. It was at that time they decided to focus on the rapidly developing food service industry. Over the following years they developed a 30+ year relationship with Shoney’s Restaurants and several other food service distributors and buying groups. All the time specializing with potatoes and onions. Due to his association with the Produce Marketing Association, Gary became involved with Ron DeLaCruz of DeLaCruz Consulting who was forming the Produce Academy program. This program was designed to help educate produce distributors in new and innovative ways to increase sales within their organization. Gary remained with the program as long as Ron DeLaCruz was leading it.

Garnand Marketing continued to grow and in 1981 the need for better control of transportation became obvious. At that time a truck leasing and brokerage company was formed, The Northwest Connection (TNC). During the early stages of TNC it became evident that a full time manager was needed for the operation. In December of 1982, Kevin Adam was hired and has remained its leader ever since. In 2004, Kevin became a partner in Garnand Marketing, LLC.

Today, after surviving The Great Recession, Garnand Marketing and The Northwest Connection continue to reinvent themselves. TNC has continued its lease operation but has branched out in a more diverse customer base. Garnand Marketing continues to be heavily involved in Food Service but also now works with food manufactures to help bring fresh produce into their programs. After 40+ years in business, it has become obvious that the only way a service company can remain viable is to continually look for new ways to serve those in the industry. The relationships that have been built over the years are the most meaningful because of the trust that has been created. Garnand Marketing, LLC and The Northwest Connection, LLC look forward to many more years of service to both the produce and transportation industries.