Wholesalers enjoy first year in new market - The Packer

Wholesalers enjoy first year in new market

09/21/2012 11:27:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

DiFeliciantonio said the way distributors were spread out in their stalls on the old market required customers to drive their trucks longer distances. In the new facility, customers only need to park in one place.

Rich Clark, owner of Jesse Pitt Co., said that distance often discouraged customer visits.

“They don’t have to walk as far and are enjoying it much more,” Clark said. “In a lot of ways, business is better here. The fruit holds up better. We used to panic when bananas got color because we had to sell them cheap. Now, with refrigeration we can sell them better. That’s helped extend shelf life as well.”

Jimmy Storey, president and owner of Quaker City Produce Co., said the market has strong leadership and staff that work diligently work to bring new customers to the facility.

“I see this market in the future going nowhere but forward,” Storey said. “This market is a stepping stone for a lot of other terminal markets. It was very well put together and is a state-of-the-art facility.”

Health reasons forced the longtime market board president to step down from his role in 2011.

Storey served as board president for nearly 20 years.

After a period of adjustment, distributors in the facility began operating as normal, said Tad Thompson, the market’s business development manager.

He agreed the building’s design and other features should help facilitate increased produce sales.

“We are really well-geared for the future,” Thompson said. “This is a very convenient place for customers large and small. We continue to handle a lot of different kinds of business. It was built for all kinds of customers, from chains to individual customers.”

In June, Rick Milavsky, vice president of BRS Produce Co., joined the market’s board of directors.

He said tenants and customers are enjoying the benefits of the new location.

“We are seeing a few more customers,” Milavsky said. “I am not sure how much, but we do see new people coming around. There are still people out there who will discover us and realize this is the place to shop.”

The only complaint Milavsky says he repeatedly hears is the building’s consistent 50-degree temperature.

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