Once they hit, however, the storms impede transportation and becomes a day of business that distributors never make up, Young said.
“Sales have been OK, but the storms definitely hurt the rotation and the trucks,” said Mike Cochran, sales manager and vice president of New York-based
Robert T. Cochran & Co. Inc. “The customers don’t want to come out in the snow and people try to buy a little extra ahead of time. But it definitely hurts.”
Never closed for the weather
The storms challenged distribution but Baldor Specialty Foods Inc., New York, worked with its customers to ensure deliveries, said Mike Muzyk, president. The foodservice distributor diverted product it would normally send to the closed private schools, he said.
“We have never closed because of the weather though we have had some of our competitors call and tell us they’re closing,” Muzyk said. “We have always been able to manage through it and have enough alternative solutions for the chefs and we find they are very reasonable during a snowstorm.”
If a chef demands a certain variety of spinach, Baldor may not be able to deliver its entire spinach offerings but it offers to substitute varieties or packs to meet their customers’ needs until the storm passes, he said.
Baldor’s spinach offerings include flat leaf California spinach, a local curly spinach, four-count 2.5-pound triple-washed spinach, 12-count 10-ounce cell spinach as well as hydroponic and organic baby spinach.
“It’s not fun, but we’re getting the product delivered,” said Bruce Klein, director of marketing for Maurice A. Auerbach Inc., Secaucus N.J., said during the storms in February. “Maybe deliveries have been a little late, but we’re doing it.”
The frigid weather scared away customers, said Alfie Badalamenti, vice president of Coosemans New York Inc.
“The storms screwed up everything,” he said. “We are usually busier during this time, but this January and February wasn’t as good as last year. Everyone’s complaining. When the shippers start calling you very early in the morning to give you items, you know they’re not busy either.”