Mutual Trading completed its move from Downtown L.A. near Little Tokyo to new headquarters in El Monte on Nov. 16. The facility features warehousing space, a showroom and conference/event space.

EL MONTE — Mutual Trading Co., Inc., the premier supplier of Japanese food, liquor, and restaurant supplies, announced the headquarters relocation to a new site in the city of El Monte.

The move from the former location on 431 Crocker St. in Los Angeles to 4200 Shirley St. in El Monte was complete on Nov. 16.

The recently constructed facility features a total 300,000 square feet, with office, warehousing for dry/refrigeration/freezer/super-freezer storage, along with a showroom and conference/event space, all outfit with modern computer system and equipment. This site will house a workforce of over 200 staff members under one roof.

“This is a momentous occasion as Mutual Trading enters a new phase for the company’s future growth, improved logistics, and superior customer service,” commented Masatoshi Ohata, president and CEO. “The expanded space will not only address concerns over the safety of our staff, but foster an environment for strategic innovation and creative thinking.”

Testing and demonstration kitchen.

The former site on Crocker Street has been the company’s home for 52 years, adjacent to Little Tokyo, where the company began in 1926. The El Monte facility is located 13 miles due east in San Gabriel Valley, a city occupying 10 square miles with an ethnically diverse population of 120,000.

Currently, the Mutual Trading Group companies operate in 11 markets, including San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Dallas, New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Honolulu, Tokyo and Lima.

In addition to the core business of Japanese food distribution, there are Miyako Oriental Foods Inc., producing miso and specialty sauces, and two trade specific educational institutions, Sake School of America and Miyako Sushi and Washoku School.

Truckyard and docks.

In 2016, Mutual Trading was acquired by Takara Holdings Inc., to join Takara Shuzo International Co., Ltd., which operates a global network of Japanese food wholesalers/distributors and alcohol beverage businesses.

As the leader of the Japanese food service industry and often regarded as the “Ambassador of Japanese foods” to the American marketplace and internationally, Mutual Trading remains steadfast, grounded to its single corporate mission spanning unchanged for nearly a century: “Bringing the flavors of Japan to the people of the world.”

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Main office

Mutual Trading Co. Inc. Significant Milestones

1926: Mutual Trading Co. Inc. founded as a co-op enterprise importing Japanese staple foods for the early immigrants settling in Little Tokyo.

1942-46: Closes business for the duration of the internment of Japanese Americans.

1965: Marks culinary trade history by introducing sushi in America.

1970: Succeeds in the world’s first frozen edamame product for commercial distribution in the U.S.; succeeds in importing the first naturally brewed premium sake to the U.S. market.

1976: Inaugurates Miyako Oriental Foods Inc. in Baldwin Park, the first major commercial facility for miso production.

1980s: Develops jizake micro-brewed artisan sake as major core business category, followed by other Japanese liquors: shochu, craft beers, wines and spirits.

1989: Produces the “Japanese Food and Restaurant Show,” the first B to B industry show. Currently is the largest and longest-running trade show of its kind outside of Japan.

1997: Against county health officials pointing to sushi as unsanitary and a health hazard, unites sushi chefs and business owners, and overturns movement to shut down sushi restaurants. This successful campaign later leads to the formation of the Japanese Restaurant Associating of Southern California.

2000s: Initiates business plans on promoting ramen establishments in America.

2004: Constructs the first super-frozen facility on the West Coast, launching the high-tech, minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit, Ultra-Low-Temperature Seafood line.

2010: Establishes Sake School of America for liquor trade professionals and enthusiasts to gain expertise and to promote their business opportunities.

2016: Establishes Miyako Sushi & Washoku School for the long-term dissemination of authentic washoku culinary culture and for providing education and raining for future chefs of the trade; is acquired by Takara Holdings Inc., and joins Takara Shuzo International Co. Ltd. to enter their global network of Japanese food wholesalers/distributors and alcohol beverages specialists.


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