Florida Food Service has been providing all the right ingredients to Gainesville since its beginnings in 1948. Originally founded as Bill’s Meat Room by William Van Popering, Jr., the Meat Room was located in the back of the Gainesville Ice Company. This location, at the corner of Cypress and Grove street, was recently renovated and reopened as a craft brewery. Back then, our fleet consisted of one delivery truck, painted with the telephone number FR 2-3514 — the same telephone number used by the company today! Now, over 70 years since its inception, the company’s fleet of trucks travels throughout North Central Florida serving over 750 loyal customers.
Florida Food Service has been a family-owned company since its origination. Although the generations have changed, it is still family-owned and operated. In 1975, Jim Islam became a partner and General Manager of Florida Food Service, Inc. Jim has four sons that are employed in different capacities within the company. In January of 2004, Jim’s son Joel became president of the company.
We take pride in the fact that all of our upper-level managers have been with the company for more than 20 years. Our 100 employees boast an average of 15 years’ service amongst them. Employees that help the local economy grow. We believe that our future depends on the team we have built at Florida Food Service, our vendor partners, and the loyal customers we are honored to serve.
Back when FFS was Bill’s Meat Room, the earliest company truck was a black, 1949 Dodge D-100 panel half-ton delivery truck with no air conditioning. The meat was delivered in insulated bags.
Bill’s Meat Room was founded in 1948 by William Van Popering, Jr. (birthdate 9/16/1919). His parents, William and Susanna Van Popering, were Dutch immigrants who arrived at Ellis Island, NY from Holland in 1906, along with their first three children at the time.
Bill’s Meat Room clients were the University of Florida, a hospital, schools, restaurants, and businesses in cities surrounding Gainesville. Some of these cities were: Perry, Steinhatchee, Cedar Key, Chiefland, Cross City, Fanning Springs, Lake City, Starke, + more.
We started as Bill's Meat Room in 1948 and quickly became Gainesville's # 1 food service company. We were the leading supplier for institutional organizations, hotels, hospitals, and restaurants in Gainesville and the surrounding area.
In 1969 we became Florida Food Service, Inc.
In 1975, Jim Islam became a partner and president of Florida Food Service, Inc. Jim has four sons that are employed in different capacities within the company.
in 1998, we constructed our 45,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art distribution center.
In January of 2004, Jim's son Joel became president of the company.
In 2007 the facility more than doubled in size and currently stocks over 9,000 products.
In 2012 Florida Food Service decided it was time to expand their produce line. A produce expert joined the team, bringing over 30 years of experience in fresh produce to the table. Adding to their existing fleet, two new refrigerated trucks dedicated solely to the delivery of fresh produce enabled Florida Food Service to become a leading provider of fresh produce .
Florida Food Service celebrates 70 years!
In 2020, FFS serves over 750 loyal customers!