Erin Goldfarb, left, samples the new chili pepper-flavored oil produced by Enzo Olive Oil Co., which is headed by Vincent Ricchiuti, right, at his company's booth at the Fresno Food Expo's Taste, Tally & Tweet event in 2017.
Written by The Business Journal Staff
After nearly a decade of generating sales and business for San Joaquin Valley food makers, the board of directors for the California Food Expo (previously the Fresno Food Expo) has voted to dissolve its nonprofit status and close operations, citing overwhelming financial and operational constraints.
The dissolution, effective at the end of January, will mark the end of a nine-year era in which the Expo has served as a nucleus of businesses and individuals working in the food industry of the San Joaquin Valley and California. It was established in 2011 as the Fresno Food Expo, an economic development initiative by the City of Fresno to connect the Valley food industry to new business opportunities.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, we would like to thank all of our supporters who have played a role in making the California Food Expo a marquee food industry event,” said Agnes Saghatelian, chairwoman. “We are grateful to have been a part of this positive effort and we are humbled by the impact it has had on our industry and our community.”
In an email announcing the closure, Amy Fuentes, California Food Expo manager, said the organization will dissolve in good financial standing.
“On a personal note, I feel incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to lead this effort over the past 9 years,” Fuentes wrote. “While this decision has been made with a heavy heart, I am so thankful for everything I have learned about your industry, and the many wonderful people I have met along the way. This journey has introduced me to some of the most hard-working, innovative and humble people I have ever met, and instilled an infectious amount of pride for this food mecca in which we live.”
Despite the dissolution, the Expo said in its statement that the efforts it began will continue to serve as a catalyst for future collaborations. They’ve also confirmed that all registered participants for 2020 can expect to be refunded in full by the end of the month.