San Francisco market awaits new lease, many upgrades

12/02/2011 12:53:00 PM
Don Schrack

But he’s optimistic the change will happen.

“There will be a critical mass at some point where enough of their clients are asking for alternative fuels,” Herrick said.

Another Herrick goal is sustainable electric power.

“I’d love to get solar on our facility,” he said, “and I’m pushing the market to keep thinking about those kinds of things.”

While some of the market’s merchants are social media sophisticates, the market itself is a newcomer to Twitter, Janis said.

“Our goal is to raise the profile of the market and to connect the market in a way people may not think about,” he said. “We’re tweeting about the enormous amount of products available, but also about life on the market, groups that are visiting, food policy issues — all sorts of things.”

The market’s tweets are not necessarily targeting any specific group.

“We’re taking the view that the world of the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market is one of different types of communities, be it people in the produce industry or people in the food industry to people who are interested in how food systems work, people who are interested in how we connect within the economy,” Janis said.

“We’re purposely keeping it very broad. It’s one piece of the strategy of branding the market and raising the profile of the market.”

The ever-changing nature of the internet is not easy task, said Frank Ballentine, president and general manager of Greenleaf Produce. There are two concerns, he said.

“One is staying current on the technology, of being able to use the Facebooks and Twitters and the business software systems that allow that type of communicating, and the second thing is to make sure we have the people that are on top of the new trends,” Ballentine said.

The cast of merchants at the San Francisco market continues to evolve with a blend of old line houses and start-ups. Internally, the merchants point to three specific business models: pure wholesalers, pure distributors and those who specialize in a single commodity.

“The majority of our businesses are hybrids, which do both street business as well as distribution and deliveries,” Janis said.



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