Sexton Logo 1982

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John Sexton & Company, also known as Sexton Foods, was a broad line national wholesale grocer that serviced the restaurant, hotel and institutional trade from regional warehouses and truck fleets located in major metropolitan areas of the United States. Sexton Foods eventually became US Foodservice in 1997. The company was established in Chicago, Illinois in 1883 by John Sexton.
John Sexton & Co (Sexton Foods) horse and wagon 1897 making city deliveries from the company's warehouse at the corner of Lake & Franklin Street in downtown Chicago.
Morning start at the John Sexton & Company warehouse at the corner of Illinois & Orleans Streets Chicago in 1925. Pictured is the new Sexton electric truck fleet, which consisted of 26 5-ton, solid rubber tired, wood wheeled electric trucks with a top speed of 10 mile per hour. The Commercial Truck Company of Philadelphia, Pa. manufactured the electric trucks. The CT electric trucks replaced the 50 horses used for city deliveries and was considered a revolutionary modernization at the time. Although purchasing the electric trucks were more expensive than horses, the electric trucks were easier to operate and cheaper to maintain. The CT electric trucks proved adept at city grocery deliveries. However, electric trucks did not perform well in snowy weather, since they would run short on charge due to spinning wheels on the icy streets. The extremely reliable electric trucks were still in use in the late 1930s.
1926 Commercial Truck of Philadelphia, PA model BA 2-Ton electric truck used by John Sexton & Co. for city of Chicago grocery deliveries.
1931 Diamond T truck of Chicago, IL model 801 6-wheeler (4x6) 4-ton, 6-cylinder 94 horse power, 189 inch wheel base. John Sexton & Co used for suburban Chicago grocery deliveries.
John Sexton & Co Mack Truck EU-FB Chicago, IL 1942 Sexton Foods Ford truck taken in the 1950's Sexton Foods International truck taken in the 1950's
1952 Diamond T Model 720 in Sexton Foods livery. In 1953, Sexton purchased the Columbia Conserve Company of Indianapolis, IN. Sexton moved their Sunshine Kitchens (manufacturing plant) from downtown Chicago to Indianapolis. From 1883 until 1945, Sexton relied exclusively on the railroad network to distribute outside of Chicago. After World War II, the highway system and truck equipment improved so Sexton Foods adopted the tractor trailer to support their coast to coast wholesale food distribution network rather than rely exclusively on the railroads. (Driver’s door reads #27 JOHN SEXTON & CO. SEXTON PARK INDIANAPOLIS, IND.)
John Sexton & Co. 1967 GMC HM-9500 pulling a 28 foot trailer on the run from Los Angeles, CA to Las Vegas, NV. This combination would leave loaded from the Sexton LA warehouse in the early evening and drive 140 miles to Barstow, CA. The Sexton Las Vegas driver would leave in the early evening with the empty combination and drive the 160 miles to Barstow, CA. In Barstow, the Las Vegas driver and the LA driver would switch combinations. The Las Vegas driver would return in time for the local Sexton route drivers to start their morning by 6 AM and the LA driver would return early morning to the LA Sexton warehouse. This run was done 5 times a week.
1968 Sexton GMC fleet at Detroit 1973 GMC 9500 outside of John Sexton & Co. Chicago branch warehouse located at 1099 Pratt Blvd Elk Grove Village, IL.
Sexton Food Orlando Branch 1972 International Loadstars
In 1964, Sexton purchased the institutional wholesale grocery department of National Brands Inc. located in Miami, FL. A Sexton warehouse was established in Miami that year. In 1970, to increase operating efficiencies, the Sexton warehouse was relocated to Orlando since all of Florida could be covered from one central warehouse.
1976 International Loadstars:
By 1976, almost all Sexton delivery trucks were refrigerated in order to accomodate the Sexton frozen food line introduced in 1970.
John Sexton & Co. 1972 GMC HM-9500 tractors based in Ft. Lauderdale to cover south Florida. Loaded 28 foot trailers pulled in tandem would be delivered during the night from the Sexton Orlando branch 200 miles away. Empty trailers would be returned to Orlando the same night. Local Sexton route drivers would make grocery deliveries 5 times a week to customers located in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Naples and Palm Beach.
Sexton trailers taken at Glendale Heights, IL in November 2005 48' Sexton Trailer Glendale Heights, IL 2005
28' Sexton Trailer being pulled by US Foodservice tractor Evanston, IL 2009 1982 Brand new John Sexton & Co. GMC Brigadier model 9500 with Thermo-King Refer and 32' foot insulated box with side door, rear barn doors and under mount rear aluminum deliver ramp. Power train: Detroit Diesel 8V-71, Fuller 9-speed transmission and Rockwell twin screw tandem rear end. GVW 50,000 lbs. The truck is in the Ryder Truck yard in Landover, MD awaiting delivery to Sexton Maryland Branch. The Landover Sexton branch served customers in Washington DC and Baltimore, MD. By the mid 1970s, John Sexton & Co. was leasing all delivery trucks and trailers from Ryder on a national contract. By leasing the trucks and trailers, Sexton was able to eliminate in-house truck maintenance, fueling and repairs. More importantly, Sexton was able to invest capital in manufacturing plants, distribution facilities, development of new products and the expansion of sale territories.

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