HOTEL/CHEF PROFILES . . .
PETER JORDANO SHARES JORDANO’S HISTORY SINCE 1915 AT MONTECITO ROTARY CLUB LUNCH
Story & Photos By Bonnie Carroll
Montecito Rotary Club President Tony Morris with Gerd Jordano and Peter Jordano
One day before the opening of the Italian Sons and Daughters of America National Conference Peter Jordano, CEO of Jordano’s Foodservice Division and a member of a proud Italian American family who opened their local Santa Barbara business 108 years ago, was the special guest speaker at the Montecito Rotary Club luncheon meeting at the Music Academy in Santa Barbara and was accompanied by his wife Gerd Jordano.
Montecito Rotary Club Members Enjoy Italian Ca Dario Lunch
Following a delicious lunch by Chef Dario Furlati, Ca Dario Ristorante Montecito, guests were seated in the meeting room where a display of historic Jordano photos and a Jordano truck replica was on display. Montecito Rotary Club President Tony Morris opened the meeting with member introductions, pledge of allegiance and Rotary report. Rotarian Peter Buehler gave a special introduction to the afternoon speaker renowned local business owner Peter Jordano, CEO Jordano’s Foodservice Division.
Peter Jordano was born and raised in Santa Barbara and following a stint in the US Marine Corps and attending school away from home he returned to join the Jordano family business, which was at that time in great financial distress. From the very start Pete stepped up and was dedicated to creating a successful operation based on the motto “you sell better if you buy better” and according to Jordano’s wife Gerd Jordano “he saved the family business!”
Jordano's Original Cash Only Grocery in Santa Barbara
From its simple beginning in 1915, known as the first cash only grocery in Santa Barbara, located at 706 State where everyone shopped, it has become an award-winning food distributing company touting 300 million in sales, over 500 employees, 10,000 items to deliver next day, and 61 climate control trucks with a company philosophy focused on generosity, making things better, and thinking of others.
Jordano shared how important insurance and 401K programs had benefited his highly valued employees and helped them to retire over the years. “As the 35th largest independent food service operation in the U.S., distributing to clients from Monterey to San Diego, our business mission is one of loyalty, good prices, and the best service,” said Jordano.
Jordano’s trucks can be seen traveling up and down the coast distributing to markets, large restaurant chains, and restaurants and markets in cities from Monterey to San Diego, including all of Santa Barbara, Solvang, and Santa Ynez Valley. Although the Jordano’s were at one time in the distilled spirit business, they gave it up 25 years ago, and today the distilled spirit business is all in LA. According to Jordano, one day while soliciting new clients for their Wine World Business, he paid a visit to Brooks Firestone. “Suddenly during our meeting Brooks jumped up ran out yelling ‘the cattle are out’ so I sat there for four hours waiting for him to return to close the deal and it was worth it, they were a great customer, and today 805 Firestone Brew is the 17th largest micro brewing company in America!”
Peter Jordano shares company history from 1915 to 2023
During a question-and-answer session following the talk Pete Jordano answered questions regarding how new food and beverage trends and changing food needs and diets have created a need for the company to adapt for continued customer satisfaction and growth. “I am often unaware of many food trends, but the company always must adapt to meeting their customers’ needs.” “Who ever thought I’d be distributing a product called Hoppy Poppy,” said Jordano.
Montecito Rotary Member Peter Buehler with Gerd Jordano
Many of the members in the room have worked alongside Mrs. Gerd Jordano over the years doing service and raising funds for charity. It was heartwarming to hear her response to a relevant question from the audience. Gerd Jordano responded to a question regarding the inspiration behind Jordano’s extraordinary kindness and charitable contributions both professionally and personally to support those in need throughout their years in Santa Barbara, to which she replied, “We both feel we are blessed every day, and it feels so good to give back and help others whenever we are able, it’s really about community love.”
Peter Jordano, a past recipient of the Paul Harris Fellow Award, one of Rotary International’s highest honors, was then presented an official Rotary Club of Montecito Banner by President Tony Morris and thanked for sharing his inspiring story on the 108-year history of Jordano’s. For additional information on Montecito Rotary Club please visit: www.portal.clubrunner.ca, for information on Jordano’s Food & Beverage Divisions please visit: www.jordanos.com. (Historic photos courtesy of Jordano's).