Welcome to the latest post in our “Striking it RICH” blog series! This series features Atlas clients, vendors, employees and supporters who embody one or more of our company’s Core Values:
This month’s post features Bay Food Brokerage, a managed IT solutions client, representing the Core Value of Relationships.
Bay Food Brokerage
Bay Food Brokerage is an industry-leading, fast-growing retail food brokerage company based in Tampa, Fla. Working as the sales and marketing partner for hundreds of food manufacturers worldwide, Bay Food Brokerage partners with the largest grocers in the Southeast U.S. to create and enhance opportunities for their clients.
Bay Food Brokerage represents manufacturers of perishable food products – such as meat, deli, dairy and produce – and consumer packaged goods (CPG) – such as non-perishable canned, boxed and bagged foods. The company partners with retailers throughout the Southeast to sell their clients’ products in-store.
The Bay Food Brokerage-Atlas Professional Services Relationship
Chris Chatterton, executive vice president of Bay Food Brokerage, was introduced to Atlas’s CEO and founder Greg Zolkos by Chris’ childhood best friend, Daniel Martinez, in 2015. Bay Food Brokerage was a growing mid-size company, and Chatterton wasn’t happy with the company’s managed IT solutions. He voiced this concern to his friend, who recommended he reach out to Atlas.
“The thing I loved about Greg was that he didn’t just try to sell me on Atlas,” said Chatterton. “He walked me through what an IT company should do for its clients, and that meant a lot. They have walked the walk ever since. For a mid-size company to not have to worry about IT and know that everything will be fixed in a timely manner is huge.”
Greg and Chris also hit it off outside of the workplace. The two had an immediate connection and became good friends, attending Tampa Bay Buccaneers games together with their families and joining the Krewe of the Knights of Sant’ Yago.
“Sometimes it’s hard doing business with friends, but it’s easy doing business with someone you become friends with through business,” said Chatterton. “You don’t become friends if they’re doing a bad job, and they’ve never done a bad job.”
Relationships as a Way of Doing Business
Bay Food Brokerage was founded by Chris’ mom, Cammie, in 1993 and is a family business through and through. For Chris and his team, it’s important that everyone they work with – from employees, to vendors, to partners, like Atlas – are part of that family.
“We like to say that we treat anyone we do business with like family, and we want them to reciprocate that,” said Chatterton. “That’s totally different than other brokers out there who just see it as a business. We’re trying to cultivate relationships and make connections that last.”
The family approach to business is something that Cammie has ingrained in the company’s culture. She even hosts employees at her home for the holidays and special occasions.
“Our jobs aren’t easy, and this year has been particularly hard with all of the supply chain issues that we’re facing,” said Chatterton. “There are days when our employees feel defeated, and having that sense of togetherness is important because it will get you through the bad times and help you celebrate the good times.”
Relationships with Partners
For Chatterton, doing business with people who place the same emphasis on relationships – both internally and externally – is important.
“You choose to work with people who make you feel comfortable, and when people treat you like family, it makes you want to do business with them,” said Chatterton. “Company culture is also so important.”
For Chatterton, Atlas’ company culture is just one of the reasons he works with them to provide managed IT solutions. That, and the level of service he receives from all the engineers who provide tech support.
“They are very responsive to me, and they treat all clients the same,” said Chatterton. “That’s important and it’s something that we emphasize in our own business. All of our clients are equally as important to our business. It’s great to get that feeling from our partners, as well.”