Produce managers are also listening to their customers’ needs and supplying what they request or explaining why a product they want may not be available because of seasonality or quality issues, Earwood said.
Chris Garmendia, general manager of Produce Exchange of Atlanta Inc., Forest Park, said retail buyers have changed.
“I think they’re definitely more price conscience,” he said.
“Before, it was ‘give us the order.’ Now, they do a lot more shopping around to make sure we and other companies are right with our prices. People aren’t just coming in and giving us orders. They’re asking how much things cost and are comparing others to other prices.”
Cliff Sherman, owner of Sunbelt Produce Distributors Inc., Forest Park, said location helps success in retail.
“It depends on the part of town you’re in,” he said. “It depends where you’re at, as crazy as that sounds. You have some doing real well while others aren’t.”
Sherman said the retailers in the northern part of the city and in the suburbs to the north appear to do better in sales than others.
Retail sales account for about 30% of sales for Coosemans Atlanta Inc.
“You have all the major players here in this very competitive market,” said Brian Young, vice president.
“Each one offers their customers a specific format that brings customers back to their stores versus their competitors’.”