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130 Year History


Pate Dawson Company is a closely held 4th generation family owned foodservice distributor that’s been in business for over 130 years. The success of Pate Dawson Company has been a classic story of hard work, honesty and family values. Pate Dawson Company traces its roots back to 1885 when it was founded as J.H. Pate Grocery, a retail grocer. By 1896, the company was selling groceries both wholesale and retail and soon moved to a location on Center Street in Goldsboro, North Carolina. By 1905, the company was renamed J.H. Pate Wholesale and operated out of a location on East Mulberry Street in Goldsboro.

In August 1923, three Pate brothers J. Micah, Ezra, and Victor, and brother-in-law, Bill Dawson, formed a partnership and purchased the business from their father, J.H. Pate, and renamed the business Pate Dawson Company. Due to growth of the business a new warehouse was opened in 1936 where the company operated as a wholesale fruit and vegetable distributor.
In 1954, Pate Dawson Company purchased Fayetteville Wholesale Company in Fayetteville, NC and renamed it Pate Derby Company. In 1965, the company expanded its facilities with a large refrigerated room, a small freezer and a two story office addition. At the same time, Pate Dawson Company began its expansion into foodservice by offering frozen French fries as well as frozen fruits and vegetables, and in 1966 joined Pocahontas Foods, USA, a foodservice marketing group. By 1970, Pate Dawson Company was offering an extensive line of frozen products and in 1973 added canned fruits and vegetables to its product line.
1975 was a landmark year for Pate Dawson Company. That year Pate Dawson Company built a large dry storage facility, and the transformation from a fresh fruit and vegetable distributor to a full-line foodservice distributor had begun in earnest. By 1980, Pate Dawson Company’s transformation to a full-line foodservice distributor was complete. Further additions to bulk storage in 1988 and a conversion of a large refrigerator room to a freezer were needed as sales continued to grow. The early growth of Pate Dawson Company in the foodservice marketplace was centered on school foodservice in the late 70’s and 80’s.
In 1993, Pate Dawson Company began construction on a new distribution center located in the new Wayne County Industrial Park. This new facility opened in January 1994 and has already been expanded twice, in 1997 and 2001.
In 2001, Pate Derby Company in Fayetteville merged with Pate Dawson Company to form one of the largest independent foodservice distributors in the Southeast serving customers from the Piedmont to the Coast in North Carolina and Virginia. Due to the large growth in chain account distribution, Pate Dawson Company now services customers in fourteen states. The current product line is about 6500 items and includes fresh and frozen meats, poultry and seafood, fresh produce and dairy, frozen foods, canned and dry goods, paper products, foam and plastic containers, cleaning chemicals, supplies, and small wares.
Pate Dawson Company remains a family owned business today with Mike Pate, Jr., Chairman of the Board and Mac Sullivan, CEO and President, and their families owning the company.
While the company has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a small town grocery store, we still firmly believe in hard work, honesty and a superior product - values that made our founder successful and continue to make PDC a proud leader in foodservice distribution.
Staying Ahead with Technology


Pate Dawson Company has grown considerably over the years and expanded its products and services to meet the changing requirements of its customers. As the foodservice industry evolved, PDC invested in professional people, state-of-the-art information systems, and a modern 116,000 square foot distribution facility in Goldsboro, North Carolina to provide customers with the highest level of product quality and service.
Today, Pate Dawson Company utilizes some of the newest technology in its warehouse operations and in its fleet of 50 International tractors, 75 Kidron trailers and 5 straight trucks.
Some examples of our investment in technology are:
Scanning and radio frequency technology at receiving, put-away, and let down is used to ensure accurate receiving and storage of every case.
Voice technology is utilized by our dedicated selectors to ensure every order is filled accurately and completely. Our error rate in selection has changed from one mis-pick every 600 cases to one in every 12,000 cases +. At the same time productivity in selection improved 100%.
The Cadec fleet management and on-board computer system ensures deliveries arrive on time and allows tracking of every Pate Dawson truck on the road, keeping our customers’ orders and our drivers safe.
The Cadec DeliverTracker – a handheld out-of-cab barcode scanner – is used to scan each item that comes off a trailer. With a unique bar code created for every case selected, we can assure that the right product gets to the right customer at the right time.
Manhattan Associates Replenishment system (formerly DPR) is the most sophisticated demand forecasting, replenishment, and inventory management system in the industry.
All our technology investments are made with two goals in mind: continually higher levels of customer service and continual reduction of errors and thereby cost. We believe that service is as important to our customers as the quality of our products. We know that the promise of service is complete when a customer’s order is filled on time, as ordered, and in good condition. 

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