Chief Operations Officer
Location: Cook County
Year Founded: 2004
Industry Group Specific: Wholesale Produce
Galera Fresh started out as a small, rented space in the International Produce Market in 2004 and started with limited funds and no more than five full-time employees. Galera Fresh truly worked against all odds, with the neighboring competitors being in business for decades long before the company was established. “With determination and relentless perseverance, Erica Vega took on the task of building a reputable company that would grow to be recognized as a produce powerhouse,” said her colleagues.
Vega serves as the chief operations officer and has built a strong rapport with national and international vendors to ensure Galera Fresh has only the highest quality items on the market. Galera Fresh is a wholesale produce importer and distributor with a mission to be the leader in quality wholesale produce distribution in the Midwest.
Through her leadership, Vega has led Galera Fresh to a multimillion-dollar enterprise with a warehouse exceeding 60,000 square feet and service to Illinois and its contiguous states. Vega also created a sister company, LGX Logistics, which controls the timeliness of all Galera Fresh loads, making it self-sustainable. “As co-owner of LGX Logistics, Erica Vega has single handedly become a key player in Chicago’s produce industry,” said her staff. “Now operating with more than 100 full-time employees, and bringing in over 150 different commodities, Galera Fresh has become a force to be reckoned with.”
With family roots in Mexico and very limited resources, Vega had a vision of Galera Fresh both surviving and thriving in a male-dominated industry using a different approach. “Erica was determined to create a young and innovative team who can educate buyers as well as consumers on the farm to fork process, creating a sense of trust and security,” said her colleagues. “Erica has led the Galera Fresh team in their commitment to food safety by being one of the few distributors holding the Foreign Verifier Supplier Program certification.”
Her leadership over the last 19 years has earned recognition by Negocios Now Chicago, Crain’s Business, Produce Business and Wintrust Bank. With nearly $120 million in sales in the last year and a logistics company that has more than 50 trucks, Galera Fresh has proven to be the powerhouse that nobody imagined.
“If I had to relive all sacrifices I’ve made to get Galera Fresh to the point at which it’s at, I’d do it all again,” said Vega. “Being a titan in the produce industry takes a combination of innovation, compassion and grit.”
For her compassion, grit and success as a leader, Vega has been named a titan.
Erica reignites her own passion by this same domino effect. Finding ways to continue to make the company grow while ensuring that the company's employees also experience their own sense of growth and development. Sharing in Galera Fresh's wins together ensures that everyone knows that they too play an important role in the success of Galera Fresh.