Back in 1975, in his early teens, Mike DeVito started a summer job as a helper of White Rock Soda and then as a helper for Calip Diaries. He quickly grew into servicing various mom-and-pop stores, and supermarkets in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan.
In 1986, DeVito became an independent distributor for Calip Dairies, which owned several ice cream brands such as Dolly Madison, T&W, Steve’s, and Frusen Gladje. His distribution focused on the west side of Manhattan, and served mom-and-pop shops, and all major supermarkets including Dutch, Shopwell, Sloans, Red Apple, Associated, and Morton Williams. He specialized in direct-store-delivery (DSD) service (in which many think he had a hand in developing). With the DSD service, he earned a lot of respect and friendship at the store level and with the supervisors.
Mike sold the independent shop in 1991, and in 1994, founded Island Fresh as a specialty juice distributor. His new company initially provided freshly squeezed orange and grapefruit juices, and other specialty juices to markets, foodservices, supermarkets, mom-and-pop’s, and airports. Island Fresh continued to grow by expanding product lines beyond specialty juices.
In 2000, Island Fresh & Hale & Hearty Soup formed a partnership to capitalize on the distribution expertise of Island Fresh and the great soups produced by Hale & Hearty. The Partnership was highly successful, and by 2015, the distribution system developed and implemented by Mike for Hale and Hearty’s wholesale division was doing $15 million in business annually. When the owners of Hale & Hearty sold their company in 2014, Island Fresh moved on.
In 2016, Mike expanded the businesses offered by Island Fresh by launching a USDA and FDA compliant and HACCP certified co-manufacturing plant in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx.