In June of 1995, Mike Alise, excited and looking for a new challenge, came to Biloxi after having dominated the fresh produce game in Louisiana. The owners of Biloxi Produce offered him an opportunity to be the General Manager of their location in the area. In true Mike fashion, he took this opportunity and ran with it. Just one year later, Mike bought the ownership group out of Biloxi Produce giving birth to Gulf Coast Produce. That first day he pulled up in his pick-up truck, with a bed full of produce, and went to work building his legacy. His oldest and most loyal employee, Bernie Boyd, reports that “by the end of that year, they (Gulf Coast) had 3 trucks and 7 full time employees”.
The industry began to evolve with the demand for more product availability, variety, and more importantly- food safety to protect consumers. To enhance his already established food safety management, Mike built a 100 percent temperature-controlled facility and developed a company HAACP program while ensuring the products ordered do not break the cold chain until it hits the customers back door.
All things changed on August 29th, 2005 when Hurricane Katrina laid waste to the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast. However, in the midst of that tragedy and by a quirk of geography, Gulf Coast Produce remained intact. Sitting on a small ridge it took no water damage. It was merely electricity that was needed to get the building back operating.
From September 2005 until February 2006, the Gulf Coast Produce warehouse served as a hub and distribution center for the FEMA relief efforts affiliated with storm recovery and reconstruction. Being able to assist the community in that capacity during an intensely difficult time is a deep source of pride for Mike and all the other long-time employees that were in Biloxi. It was comforting to know that he could do something, and he was going to come back to serve a community desperate to see any signs of normalcy.
As people began to return to their homes and business on the Mississippi gulf coast, Mike and his team knew they needed to get back to work to begin distribution again.
Now as a husband and wife team, Mike and Christi Alise returned and maintain their fundamental practice of “quality and service- the first time, every time”. The success of this model has allowed Gulf Coast Produce to embark on yet another adventure…GULF COAST PRODUCE OF ALABAMA.
Opened in September of 2014, Gulf Coast Produce of Alabama represents a turning point in the legacy of Gulf Coast Produce. “Fresh from Foley” is the motto with an accent on all things local setting this distribution center apart. Partnering with the City of Foley on an ambitious Farm to Table program, the 22,000 square foot facility is off and running, expanding the Gulf Coast Produce footprint into Florida and even deeper north in Alabama.