Business updates: New York Know Your Market

02/24/2012 10:21:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

A&J Produce Corp. adds two salesmen 
Two of the newest generations joined the staff of A&J Produce Corp., New York.
Thomas Tramutola Jr., son of company treasurer Thomas Tramutola, joined in the fall and works in sales and purchasing.
James Tramutola, the son of Jimmy Tramutola, joined in the fall as buying assistant.
Thomas Tramutola Jr. is a recent graduate of Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., while James Tramutola graduated from Fordham University, New York.
John Tramutola and Al Weiler co-own the produce wholesaling firm.
Baldor invests in alternative energy
Baldor Specialty Foods Inc., New York, is purchasing alternative fuel cells to run its forklifts.
The battery-sized cells, which include a methanol tank and converter, power the batteries and should prove a “game-changer” for Baldor, said Mike Muzyk, president.
The 20 units Baldor ordered should run more reliably than the electric units that frequently die and need continuous recharging, Muzyk said. He said the new technology allows a distributor to almost never have to worry again about a jack not being charged.
Muzyk said Baldor recently hosted a New York Department of Transportation meeting to discuss cleaning the Hunts Point air and seek alternative fuel for trucks. He said a standing-room-only crowd attended.
“We always thought about energy conservation,” Muzyk said. 
“All this talk about tax abatements, funds possible to convert a fleet to alternative energy and the search for cleaner air, we don’t have to do that. But when you’re a good corporate citizen, you must continue to reinvent yourself. Sustainability is an important way we do that.”
D’Arrigo delves deeper into mushroom business
D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of New York Inc. is increasing its presence in the fresh mushroom business.
Though the distributor sold small volumes of mushrooms in the past, Matthew D’Arrigo, vice president, said the recent addition of the category should make for a more serious entrance.
“We have done a little in the past, so this is kind of a new thing for us,” D’Arrigo said. 
“We have very good sales and interest in it, and very steady business. Happily, we have the right guy managing and handling it.”
Ben Shkolnik, who formerly worked at a defunct produce firm, joined D’Arrigo in late 2010 and heads the mushroom sales.
D’Arrigo wholesales a full line of fruit and vegetables.
J. Kings increases home meal offerings
J. Kings Foodservice Professionals Inc., Holtsville, N.Y., is expanding its home replacement meal offerings.
Complementing its meat packing facility that produces its Kitchen Cuts product line, the foodservice distributor during the summer opened its Krazy Cooks Kitchen.
The Krazy Cooks Bayshore, N.Y., facility produces home replacement meals for retail and foodservice customers that include a variety of fresh salads that feature protein and use sliced vegetables.
Well-known chefs produce the line’s 30 items and retail interest is growing, said Joel Panagakos, executive vice president.
“We were first geared to producing different salads for foodservice establishments such as lobster salads, cole slaw and potato salads,” he said. 
“We were buying these from other vendors, but, with recipes, were able to formulate our own best-tasting salads.”
J. Kings markets the products under its Restaurant Row label.
Morris Okun enters tropical sales
Morris Okun Inc., New York, now offers tropicals.
The distributor added a fruit line in 2010, and, in August, began selling a tropicals line.
Marvin Santana, who for eight years worked for Global Tropical Fresh Fruit Corp., New York, joined as Okun’s tropical sales buyer.
Okun began with a small number of tropical staples but soon expanded that to a full line featuring 50-60 items including plantains, mangoes, avocados, dasheen, okra and root vegetables such as apio, said Thomas Cignarella, president.
“Prior to Marvin’s coming here, we had an interest in it (tropicals),” Cignarella said. 
“We had someone else running it whose now a salesman for us. Marvin came in and took it over. Tropicals are a good item and what people are looking for. Everyone sells tropicals in their stores. We want to give people what they need.”


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