Press Releases

SQF Level 2 Certification

J&J Distributing, St Paul, Minnesota celebrated the onset of its 38th year in business with the announcement that they were awarded the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Level 2 certification under the Global Food Safety Initiative Edition 7.1. The certification is for fruit and vegetable processing; ice drink and beverage processing; fresh produce wholesaling and distribution; food wholesaling and distribution. This includes fresh fruit juice, fresh fruits and vegetables, salads with and without meat.

sqf_logo_colorSQF certification is achieved when a company demonstrates exceptional quality control and food safety practices. A third-party audit is conducted by a qualified inspector to evaluate different aspects of a company’s food safety program, including: personnel practices, plant maintenance and cleanliness, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HAACP) plans, and food safety programs. It provides validation to many national and international retailers and food service providers that a company has food safety programs in place and that those programs are followed. SQF is a globally recognized certification as a food safety management system and is administered by the SQF Institute.

“Achieving SQF certification validates our food safety program and exemplifies our continued commitment to providing safe, high quality products to the marketplace. This is an achievement of which our employees can all be proud,” said Jim Hannigan, President and CEO. “This not just an audit it is a lifestyle, a true culture change”. “We recognize that consumers are more knowledgeable about the source of the food they eat, how that food is prepared and if it is safe for their family. Achieving SQF certification validates our food safety program.”

SQF 2000 certification is a statement that food safety plans have been implemented by J&J Distributing in accordance with the HACCP method and applicable regulatory requirements and that they have been validated and verified and determined effective to manage food safety.  It is also a statement of J&J Distributing’s on going commitment to:

  1. Purchase,  Produce and Deliver  safe, quality controlled foods.
  2. Comply with the requirements of the SQF Code and Global Food Safety Initiatives.
  3. Comply with all applicable State and Federal Food Legislation.

J&J Distributing was established in 1978, in 300 Sq. feet and four employees. It is now housed in 110,000 sq. feet of refrigerated  warehouse and fully integrated with 250 dedicated employees.

Stephanie Hannigan Melstrom promoted to President


Stephanie Melstrom

J&J Distributing, St Paul, Minnesota, is proud to announce that Stephanie Hannigan Melstrom has been promoted to the position of President. Ms. Melstrom has been employed at J&J Distributing for twenty-five years in a variety of roles, most recently as Executive Vice President of Cuttin’ Time Productions, the companies’ processing division.

Current President and CEO, James Hannigan, will remain with the company in the role of CEO. Deborah Hannigan, former COO will remain as Chair of the Board of Directors.

J&J Distributing was founded in 1978 and is a full service Produce Distributor.

J&J Business Owners Honored


Jim and Debbie Hannigan

2013 marks the 12th year the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is honoring Leading With Faith Award winners — men and women whose business practices reflect the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Church.

This year’s winners included J&J business owners Jim and Debbie Hannigan.

Nominations were solicited from throughout the archdiocese. Winners were selected in each of three categories: large business, small business and non-profit organizations.

The winners were honored at the annual Leading With Faith lunch Aug. 14 at St. Catherine University in St. Paul. Archbishop John Nienstedt was scheduled to present the awards.

Q & A with Jim and Debbie Hannigan

How do you apply your faith and Catholic values at work?

From the time we started business, we have strived to share what we created with our employees by providing competitive wages and benefits. A number of times, we have given an employee a second or even a third chance when they have struggled with making a positive contribution to our success.

We continue to provide food to various charities and food shelves in the area.

Please tell a story about a time when applying your faith at work really made a difference?

Our children have all worked in the business. Our oldest son, Christopher, was killed in a car accident 20 years ago. He was very gifted and the loss affected us a lot. After he died, we decided to establish a memorial scholarship fund in his name at St. Thomas Academy so that students who want to have a strong Catholic education, but struggle to finance it, can, with our help, have their dream fulfilled.

Who or what has been the most inspirational to you in bringing your faith to the marketplace?

Both of us grew up in strong Catholic families and graduated from Catholic high schools. The nurturing environment fostered by the sisters and priests who taught us has guided us, as has the fact that we continue to be nourished by our faith community each week.

What achievement at work are you most proud of?

Many immigrants, minorities and women have been given the opportunity to grow into leadership positions at J&J. They are dependable workers and very loyal to J&J.

In what specific ways have you experienced God’s presence in your workplace?

Our building is located in a part of St. Paul that struggles with many issues. We have made many improvements to the building and made it a nice place inside and out. We do not have a big fence around our lot, and yet have experienced very little damage to the premises and its equipment. In many ways, we are an oasis. Many low-income workers from the surrounding neighborhoods have found a home at J&J. In good times and bad, we believe God has been with us.

Age: Jim, 70, Debbie, 69
Company: J&J Distributing (fresh and dry produce distributors)
Title: President/CEO (Jim), COB (Debbie)
Parish: Assumption, St. Paul
Children: Stephanie, Kevin, Christopher (deceased)
Activities: Volunteer with Little Sisters of the Poor

*Photo by Dave Hrbacek, Article by The Catholic Spirit

Jim Hannigan receives St. Jeanne Jugan Award

A Memorable Evening

It was the 5th GALA the Holy Family Residence has hosted since 2007.

jeanne_jugan_award_2014It has been an honor for me to walk along side the Sisters and their staff as a committee member for this fundraising event held on June 11, 2014 at St Thomas University/Anderson Student Center.

The Little Sisters know and live the true meaning of hospitality so it should come as no surprise they would choose a venue that is simple, elegant and welcoming to all who come to support them in their mission.

The evening began with a cocktail hour and silent auction as the guests mingled with each other while enjoying a cool beverage and bidding on their favorite items.  Yes, there were certainly those hovering around their special packages increasing their bids as often as it would take to be the prized winner.

The dinner tables were dressed with soft colored linens and flowers filling the space in the Hall of Anderson Student Center comfortably and cozy at the same time.  Dinner was a delicious combo of beef and chicken cooked by the St. Thomas kitchen staff.

This year’s recipient of the St. Jeanne Jugan Award went to Jim Hannigan, of J and J Distributing.  Jim and his wife, Debbie have long supported, very generously, both in time and treasure the Little Sisters mission.  We are so grateful for their love and abundant blessings towards the Sisters.

The Keynote Speakers were Dr. and Mrs Edward Gatz.  Dr. Gatz was the recipient of a miracle from St. Jeanne Jugan, Foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor.  Her miracle of healing Dr. Gatz from his prognosis of terminal cancer, was the miracle that Rome awarded her the honor of her canonization in October, 2009.

The story shared by both Dr. Gatz and his wife, Jeanne, were both compelling and inspiring.  Not often in our lives are we able to sit around table in the same room with a person being able to share such a profound experience.  It was truly “Holy Ground” for all able to attend.

The evening ended with a spirited Live Auction led by Auctioneer Rod Johnson. Traditionally our guests anticipate some exciting items and are anxious to bid.  Lucky winners walked home with auctioned items such as: A trip for 2 to Rome, tickets to a Notre Dame Football Game; Timberwolves Tickets; Boat Cruise on St. Croix River with Fr. John Malone; and many more.

Begging for the Little Sisters was my “calling” this year for the GALA….I always enjoy calling on merchants in our community and asking for their support as I share the mission and ministry of these beautiful women.   So glad this year, once again….our “begging” paid off big time as our generous supporters helped the Sisters exceed their goal….in more ways than one!

J&J Distributing Awarded For Their Efforts in Energy Efficiency

City of Saint Paul Awards J&J Distributing with a Sustainability Award

energy_efficiency_awardOn April 20, 2011 J&J Distributing was officially recognized by the city of Saint Paul for their energy efficiency project.  J&J was the 2011 recipient of the Annual Sustainable Saint Paul Awards in energy efficiency. The awards were started by Mayor Coleman to jump start the city’s project to make Saint Paul the most livable city in the United States.*

J&J partnered with the Saint Paul Port Authority, the city of Saint Paul and Xcel Energy to reduce the energy consumption at J&J’s site. The reason J&J took an initiative to reduce the use of energy is because of the large amount of energy the company consumes as a produce distributor. The ultimate goal is to achieve a negative carbon footprint. To address this project they first changed their entire lighting system to LED and replaced 44 inefficient refrigeration units with five energy climate systems. To further the energy efficiency project the waste heat produced by the new refrigeration units will be used to heat the green houses at J&J, which is another pro-environment project that will be completed in the near future.

This project was entirely made possible by a $1.3 Million loan given to J&J by the Saint Paul Port Authority as a part of their Trillion BTU Energy Efficiency Improvement Program. This project sets the foundation for future projects at J&J that will make the company become increasingly eco-friendly.

Pictured (from left to right): Mayor Chris Coleman, Kevin Hannigan, Jim Hannigan, John Wujek, Jim Melstrom, Melvin Carter III

Photo taken by Kurt Schultz



sustainabilityJ&J Distributing is beginning a journey called Sustainability. Sustainability has a number of definitions which include “preserving the world’s natural resources for future generations” and “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

J&J is making a conscious effort to examine its operations and find ways to lessen its imprint on the world. This effort follows the spirit of the definitions listed above. Some of these efforts may be grand in scale, while others are simple, ordinary activities.

This past summer Xcel Energy visited J&J to explore ways to lower the use of energy in the building. The Xcel engineer at the meeting, Michael Anderson, made a comment about capturing the heat generated by the 38 refrigeration units on the roof and selling, or using it for another use. When Michael found out that J&J was contemplating the construction of an indoor farm on company property, his eyes got big. Michael said that J&J could use the heat from a more efficient refrigeration system in the indoor farm.

At the same time, The City of St. Paul through the St. Paul Port Authority gave final approval to the Trillion BTU Energy Efficiency Improvement Program. The Trillion Program is designed to assist existing commercial users to invest in energy efficiency and improve their profitability. At a meeting that included representatives from the City, Port Authority, Xcel and J&J, agreement was reached on a study to determine the cost effectiveness of making the building more efficient through better lighting, insulation and refrigeration systems. The Trillion Program involves changing the refrigeration to a chiller system. A chiller system pumps cooled water through a building. The heat generated by cooling the water is easily transferred to another use, such as an indoor farm. Chiller systems are used in large buildings such as hospitals, shopping centers, Xcel Center and Metrodome.  A unique feature of a chiller system is that cold can be stored for use if the power to the building is disrupted. Using a simple generator, the cold can be pulled out of storage and used to keep J&J’s inventory cooled until power is restored. If these concepts seem feasible, construction activity could begin early next year.