Sorensen, Founder of Upper Lakes Foods

CLOQUET, MN - Lawrence "Larry" Sorensen, founder and president of Upper Lakes Foods, Inc., here, died Tuesday, Jan. 25. He was 69 years old.

Sorensen began his career in the brokerage business after graduating from the University of Wisconsin in Superior with a double major. He founded Upper Lakes Foods, an ID Top 50 distributorship, in 1967.

The company's original location was in downtown Duluth, MN, but Sorensen moved the warehouse here in 1981. Since then the company expanded to a Rhinelander, WI, facility as well as a Twin Cities sales office. Sorensen also owned Brown's Velvet Ice Cream, a premium Minnesota brand.

Sorensen was known as a foodservice distribution innovator, having developed many sales tools, the most prominent being the traveling "converted greyhound" kitchens the company used for almost 30 years. He began selling out of the trunk of his car and built the company into a $160 million business. Sorensen was known for not forgetting his early years in the industry and was always willing to help new entrepreneurs embark in business.

Sorensen served on the board of directors of UniPro Foodservice, Inc., Atlanta, for three years and was a member the steering committee for the UniPro MultiUnit Group.

He is survived by wife, Patricia, sons, Steve, Scott and Shawn, and daughter, Susan Ryan, their spouses and families. All of them have been active in the business for many years in key management positions and its daily operation.


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