Boston's produce industry chugs along through economic ups, downs - The Packer

Boston's produce industry chugs along through economic ups, downs

05/17/2013 02:47:00 PM
Jim Offner

The council, in its report, forecast moderate economic growth across Massachusetts in 2013 after a slowdown late in 2012.

More robust growth is anticipated in 2014 and 2015, according to the report.

Expect produce buyers to be particularly value-conscious this year, said Steven Piazza, salesman and president Community-Suffolk Inc., Everett.

“The whole thing is providing value to the people who actually consume the products,” he said.
Piazza said consumers will find ways to cut back and that the trick, for produce vendors, is to continue to move as much volume.

“If there’s anything we can do to get the value to our wholesaler and smaller restaurant trade, get the plate cost down,” he said.

Some produce vendors say they have done that.

“I think we continue to find new customers and grow, so we really haven’t seen a negative effect,” said
Victor Simas, vice president of sales at New Bedford, Mass.-based Sid Wainer & Son.

Ring Bros. Wholesale, South Dennis, Mass., operates a wholesale business and a retail store, which has been a hedge against downturns, said Ed Ring, owner.

“The economy, when it got bad, our retail store did really well. Restaurants’ business dipped maybe 10% and retail was up 10%,” he said.

Competition remains as keen as ever, said Maurice Crafts, salesman for Coosemans Boston Inc., in Chelsea.

“Everyone is going after the same business. You need to stay sharp and flexible,” he said.

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