Today, Mike & Mike’s is the only non farm-based distributor of exclusively certified-organic fresh fruits and vegetables in Ontario. The company delivers more than 200 kinds of fruits and vegetables from organic farms from around the world to 150 retailers in the province, such as major chains as well as many independent health and natural food stores. But its roots, like the industry it helped cultivate, are far more modest.
Mike & Mike’s was launched in 2004 by company president Mike Fronte and vice-president of operations Mike Dattoli. While the pair had known each other since childhood, they reconnected serendipitously when Fronte started his first organic company, Simply Organic. A family friend had offered Fronte warehouse space to get the company running and he would often cross paths with Dattoli, who happened to be the warehouse manager. Fronte recognized qualities in Dattoli that would compliment his own: he was personable, organized and knew produce. When Fronte approach Dattoli to join him at Simply Organic, Dattoli jumped at the chance.
The pair worked for three years to build Simply Organic. They recognized gaps in the fragmented organic industry, which, at the time, was still in its infancy and very grassroots. Retailers were dealing directly with organic growers and supply chains were limited and inconsistent. It was a small market and many of the big players didn’t see the value in nurturing its potential. But Fronte and Dattoli did. They began consolidating the industry, establishing relationships, ensuring consistent supply and drawing attention.
Fronte sold Simply Organic in late 2002, but he still had a taste for running his own company and being his own boss. He decided start another organic distribution company. This time, however, he wouldn’t do it alone. He asked Dattoli to be his partner and, in 2004, the pair founded Mike & Mike’s.
Over the next 10 years, Mike & Mike’s grew into the leading distributor of organic fruits and vegetables in Ontario. In 2015, they completed an expansion of their Vaughan distribution facility, which more than doubled their storage capacity and added space for an automated flow-wrapping machine to intensify production of their line of packaged fruits and vegetables. A snack line is now available in numerous retail stores across the province as well as at the Toronto Pearson International Airport. In March 2015, Mike & Mike’s was named one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies.