Trailblazing the industry with unique and authentic products
Flora Fine Foods began importing olive oil from Mr. Flora‚Äôs native region of Puglia, and tomatoes from the San Marzano region of Campania.
We are dedicated to providing an experience of the true bounty that Italy offers with a fresh array of genuine, Italian products.
La Tua Famiglia
We value each of our customers as a member of our own family because without you, we are not Flora Fine Foods.
Born into a poor family of tailors in Bari, Italy, John Flora came to America December 17, 1962 in search of a dream. Arriving at the age of 10 impoverished and speaking no English, Mr. Flora grew up in the predominately Italian neighborhood of Bensonhurst in Brooklyn, New York.
Growing up, John was always fascinated with electricity, mathematics and machines, so he decided to pursue an education in Electrical Engineering. While in school, Mr. Flora began working at Villa Cucci Italian Bakery. In a neighborhood where dough and flour overflowed the streets, pizza parlors could be found on every corner of Brooklyn. While vacationing in Miami Beach, John realized the most difficult thing to find in the Sunshine State was a decent slice of pizza. His cousin told him of a piece of property in Miami, and it was that piece of property that started the journey.
John purchased the little piece of land on 79th and Flagler Avenue, where he opened a pizza parlor, Flora‚Äôs Drive-In, in 1972. It was that small, pizza parlor that helped open up Flora‚Äôs Italian Restaurant in Hollywood in 1974, where he met his wife, Irene. The restaurant‚Äôs notoriety grew rapidly and was known by locals and tourists as the place for ‚Äúreal New York Italian‚ÄĚ food. John‚Äôs large personality, self-taught cooking style and authentic Italian ingredients kept the crowds buzzing about his sauce, and the fresh ingredients he put into his food.
His competition took note, and restaurants from all over were asking Mr. Flora for his tomatoes. Without any hesitation, Mr. Flora began importing Italian tomatoes and supplying restaurateurs from all over the South Florida market out of the back of his restaurant. Cooks from Miami to West Palm were lining up at the backdoor of this small, Hollywood restaurant to get their tomatoes. The biggest problem John had was space. He started by keeping them in his restaurant, but later moved them into his house. After the demand grew, John drained his pool and housed his tomatoes in there. Realizing there was no Italian food suppliers in South Florida and wanting his pool back, John decided to sell the restaurant and open his first warehouse in 1976 in Riviera Beach. After opening an additional three warehouses, Flora Fine Foods produces and supplies national grocers Wegman‚Äôs, Publix, Winn-Dixie and Costco down to local, Italian supermarkets.
The matriarch and cornerstone of the business, Irene Flora helped start this company with her husband in 1976. Born in the Bronx, Irene gained her expert knowledge of the food business alongside her husband while working in restaurants together. Besides managing the Accounting and Operations of Flora Fine Foods, Irene is a mother to 4 children. She‚Äôs been working full-time for the past 7 years after the graduation of kids from college. Outside of the office, Irene is an avid sports fan and loves rooting for the Miami Dolphins and Miami Heat. She loves to travel to places where she can taste wine and learn more about food and culture. Besides raising four children, she is mom to two Chihuahuas (both named Bella) and 1 cat named Brunello.
The eldest son of John Flora, John ‚ÄúJunior‚ÄĚ Flora has been working with the company since 2006. Since graduating from Florida Atlantic University with Dual Majors in International Trade and Business, John started managing the hospitality side of the company on the restaurant market. As his knowledge of the business grew, John expanded into the retail sector with clients like Whole Foods and Wal-Mart. John has an immense appetite for knowledge and can be overhead blaring Rosetta Stone-Italian in his office.
Outside of the office, John enjoys rooting for the Heat, traveling to Europe, watching the Miami Dolphins and eating at new restaurants. He‚Äôs been married for two years to his wife, Melissa, and they both just blessed with their first child, Valentina. John has three dogs (Jackomo, Armani and Nina). ‚ÄúRegardless of the weather, every day you wake up is sunshine.‚ÄĚ -John Flora, Jr.
The second son of John Flora, Christopher brings the passion and pride of his family‚Äôs name to some of the most respected grocery chains in the United States. Starting with the company in 2008, Christopher brought Flora Fine Foods from the restaurants directly to the consumers in the grocery stores like Publix, Wal-Mart and Winn Dixie.
With a dual-degrees in Finance and Accounting from Florida State University, Christopher‚Äôs lovable personality and expert knowledge of the food industry makes all his client feel secure about the product his name is attached to. Outside the office, Christopher is a huge fan of health and fitness and great food. He can be found in the gym lifting weights or playing basketball or searching the Tri-County area for a new restaurant he hasn‚Äôt eaten at. In his downtime, Christopher enjoys watching biopics or gangster films that allow him to think more about the ‚Äėwhy‚Äô then the ‚Äėwhat.‚Äô If a Miami Dolphins, Miami Heat or Miami Marlins game is on, he will be rooting on his hometown teams.
Christopher has a Boston Terrier named Harley and four cats (Garcia, Vega, Remy and Martin) and considers himself a zookeeper on the side. He recently became engaged to his long-time love, Stephanie who works Real Estate in the South Florida market.
Mark Alpern knows food because he was raised around it his entire life. For more than 40 years, Mark has worked directly and indirectly with Flora Foods. Growing up in the Bronx and raised in Fort Lee, New Jersey, he spent his time working in family restaurants before beginning with Flora Fine Foods. After spending eight years as a subcontractor for Boarshead Meats, Mark Alpern began working with Flora Fine Foods as a Warehouse Operations and Sales Manager. As the company expanded 1996, Mark took on a new role as a Sales Director and Export Manager. Mark has an Associate‚Äôs Degree from Broward College and completed the Dale Carnegie Course. In his time away from the office, you can catch Mark at the gym lifting weights, fishing and watching football with his friends. He is an avid fan of the Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees and Miami Heat. The most joy he gets is spending time with his son and daughter and his wife.
Rose Farruggia has been working for Flora Fine Foods for 29 years. A native of Bari, Italy, Rose is the sister of John Flora, Sr. Rose manages the Accounting and Human Resources for the company. As a long-time resident of Brooklyn, New York where she managed her Flora‚Äôs Drive-In, Rose moved to South Florida and became a Ticket Agent for Air Florida for 5 years. Knowing her real passion was in food, Rose returned to Flora Fine Foods to take over the numbers of the business. Not your average bean-counter, Rose enjoys the beach, gardening and cheering on the Duke Blue Devils Basketball team and the Florida State Seminoles football team. Rose has been married for 35 years to her husband Tony and has 3 lovely children, Gabrielle (Preston), Anthony (Nikki) and Michael who attends Yale University. The recent arrivals of granddaughters Victoria and Charlotte have made her the proudest grandmother in the world. She wishes they lived closer but is grateful to facetime for the ability to see them every day.
Vashti Sieukaran has become an expert in the world of wine since she began 12 years ago with Flora Foods and Orvino Wines. Combined with a bubbly personality and the enhanced organizational skills of a seasoned librarian, Vashti‚Äôs ability to multitask and provide her clients with a glowing, positive and intelligent approach adds great value to the Flora Fine Foods and Orvino Wine family. Born in Trinidad, Vashti is an avid gardener who loves to plant fresh herbs and spices around her home. She‚Äôs a wonderful cook of West Indie food and loves spicy food. She enjoys watching Indian films (and dancing along with them as well), reading and watching soccer. Vashti is a huge fan of Manchester United fan, but a closet Chelsea fan as well. She has daughter and has been married 29 years and loves her German Shepherd, Archie.
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