Upgraded produce market mirrors industry strength - The Packer

Upgraded produce market mirrors industry strength

08/15/2013 10:45:00 AM
Andy Nelson

“It’s a whole different animal these days,” Pupillo said. “There are security cameras everywhere. I have people who work here late at night, and it makes it a lot safer environment.”

The market has been willing to do whatever it takes to keep tenants and customers happy, Pupillo said.

“Some of what they’re doing isn’t cheap,” he said.

“I don’t think we’ll see a new market anytime soon, so you have to take care of what you have.”

The market has similarly high standards for its tenants, Pupillo said.

“If you’re not keeping it up, they’ll remind you.”


Distributors report strong demand

Vaccaro & Sons Produce was enjoying strong sales in the summer, a season that’s critical for the company, said owner Dale Vaccaro.

“It’s been very good, but it’s summertime, so it had better be very good,” he said. “The restaurants are hanging in there, foodservice, retail are hanging in.”

Other times of the year aren’t as profitable for Vaccaro & Sons, Vaccaro said.

“Winter is flat,” he said. “The majority of our business is done now. You have to be busy right now.”

The usual seasonal adjustments aside, business has been steady for Sun Farm Foodservice, said John Pollaci, president.

“Summer is always a slower period of time for us, but business has been pretty good,” Pollaci said. “No huge developments.”

The area’s economy hasn’t exactly been a boon for business, though there are bright spots, Pollaci said.

“The economy is kind of stagnant in St. Louis right now,” he said.

“The convention business is up, though. We have the convention center and some decent hotel brands. We’ve noticed an uptick.”

Other foodservice channels also have provided some extra business for Sun Farm, Pollaci said.

“We’ve gotten a little more into nursing homes, senior living centers,” he said.

“A lot of people are upgrading. Instead of canned fruit, they’re cutting their own. It’s good to see.”

Business has been steady in 2013 for another resident of the St. Louis Produce Market, Independent Fruit & Produce, said partner Steve Wielansky.

“It’s not too bad,” he said.

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