GFS Marketplace RC 09 (4)

“When we enter into a community, we always like to put some goodwill towards it, letting them know that’s what we’re all about,” states GFS Marketplace Store Manager Richard LeBlanc, regarding the company’s recent donation of $1,000 to Nativity’s food bank at the store’s June grand opening.

Located at 730 E. Brandon Blvd. in Brandon, GFS Marketplace, which stands for Gordon Food Service, will also be treating area residents through a smorgasbord of free samples throughout the month of June. On Monday, June 15, barbecue chicken and pork, cookies and drinks will be served, on Tuesday, June 16, desserts will be provided, on Wednesday, June 17, residents will be able to choose from hot dogs, chips and a drink and on Thursday, June 18, chicken wings and sauces will be in abundance, while guests will also have the chance to enter to win a gas grill and a year supply of GFS chicken breasts. It doesn’t stop there: A Giant Taste Fest, highlighting the specialties of GFS, will take place Friday-Saturday, June 19-20. There will be opportunities to win a $500, $300 or $200 shopping spree on June 20.

The 13,000-sq.-ft. local market, with 36 on staff, is made unique through its concentration on each customer, making itself a chameleon to each one’s needs. For those businesses needing a quick order, phone the grocery store with your list of needed items and a sales associate will have the groceries bagged and ready on your arrival. Just for shopping at the store, businesses and organizations who participate in the company’s Loyalty Program will receive an annual rebate of up to seven percent on the items purchased at GFS Marketplace. Residents will be able to select products that the local restaurants use, in bulk quantity with no membership fees and within a less expansive store. If you are planning a party, you can use the onsite electronic Menu Wizard to help estimate what items you will need. Those who are in need of fundraising help need look no further as the store provides a number of fundraisers.

The new facility sells anything and everything one would ever need, from a variety of meats, cheeses and seafood to pizza, produce and sandwiches. Residents are invited to taste test these items every Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. “We’re a food service store, carrying restaurant-quality products,” adds LeBlanc. “Consistency and quality is our niche.” Also offered are various household items from cleaning aids and plastic tableware to paper products and packaging materials.

Having come to the area because of its growth and viability, the company’s Website says no matter the growth, “Our values remain the same as those of the 23-year-old entrepreneur who started it all: hard work, reliability and integrity are the only business practices that really matter.”

The company’s vision began in 1987 by Isaac Van Westenbrugge on horse and buggy in Grand Rapids, MI, with Ben Gordon joining the company’s ranks in 1916, later marrying Van Westenbrugge’s daughter Ruth. He would go on to forge a partnership in the company in 1933. Later in 1942 after Van Westenbrugge’s retirement, Gordon and his brother Frank would go on to rename the company Gordon Food Service. With more and more family members added to its staff, the company has maintained its family-owned image, spanning more than a century and encompassing 130 locations throughout Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Kentucky. GFS Marketplace plans for further expansion in the Tampa Bay area, already owning existing stores in St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

The store’s hours of operation are Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. For more information, call 681-9871 or visit

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Carisa Biesecker
Carisa is a Senior News Reporter and Assistant Editor at the Osprey Observer. When she's not at work, she continues to write, working on future projects; hangs out with friends and family, her best friend (aka her husband) and her four dogs.