After almost 20 years in the dairy business, he was given an opportunity to work in sales for a frozen foods distributor. Shortly thereafter, he started his own one-truck business by purchasing the territory license for the Fayetteville area from a food manufacturer known as Henderson Portion Pak. In 1960, Strickland’s Portion Pak was born. From the beginning, Robert’s wife, Alene, worked alongside him. He handled the sales and deliveries while she ran the office and handled the paperwork. Her hard work and support were instrumental in the early success of the business.
In 1976, Robert Strickland passed away much too early at the age of 55. By this time, his son-in-law, Robert Spain, had been involved in the business for several years. In 1977 he assumed the role of President, a position that he still holds to this day. Alene Strickland continued to work as a highly involved owner, and was an integral part of the daily business activities until her death in 1998.
Much like his father-in-law, Robert Spain has relied heavily on his wife, Lavetta, in the development of the business. In addition to her support, she has been a part of the day-to-day operations since her employment began in 1981.
Ever the family business, Robert and Lavetta’s son, Marshall, joined the business in 2001. And their son-in-law, Geoff Abell, came on board in 2012. Both are competent leaders, and have helped to chart the direction of the company for the last several years.
Strickland’s began in 1960 by carrying frozen, portion-controlled meats and seafoods. This was our primary mix of products for about 45 years. In 2005 we began adding other frozen items, such as French fries, frozen vegetables, and appetizers. We also added refrigerated storage space to our warehouse, and included cheese and deli meats in our product line. Soon after, we began to slowly work our way into the dry goods category. In 2015 we completed the most recent addition to our facility, by building a new dry warehouse. We have expanded our product line to well over 1000 items, and continue to bring in new products that meet our customer’s needs.
Strickland’s Portion Pak has been in operation now for almost 60 years.As we have expanded, we have evolved from a niche frozen foods supplier to a broadline foodservice distributor. One thing that has not changed, we continue to work hard, and we love what we do. And we plan to serve the community for many years to come.
“May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands.”