PHILADELPHIA — Those responsible for relocating Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market wholesalers into modern facilities deflect attention from themselves and point to a combined effort for the move.
In 2002, Jimmy Storey, president of the terminal association and president and owner of Quaker City Produce Co., and Richard Nardella, chief executive and financial officer of Nardella Inc., requested longtime state Sen. Vincent Fumo to help them create a new market. Storey, Nardella, and Sonny DiCrecchio, the market’s executive director and then-market manager, would have many meetings with the former south Philadelphia lawmaker.
Also joining in the early stages of searching for a new facility: George Manos, president of TM Kovacevich International Inc.; Louis Penza Jr., partner with Pinto Bros. Inc.; Joseph Procacci, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Procacci Bros. Sales Corp.; and John Vena Jr., president of John Vena Inc.
All give credit to Storey, who many consider the leading proponent whose tireless efforts help bring the facility to fruition.
“Jimmy Storey was the spearhead,” Nardella said. “He put in a lot of hours. I can remember going to meetings with him day after day and spending time with Sen. Fumo and the politicians.”
Storey, who underwent heart surgery in late 2010, has been away from the business receiving rehabilitation. Colleagues say he has returned to his home and appears to be doing well.
Determined to see the job completed, Storey remained board president for a decade, Penza said.
“He wasn’t going to give up his seat until he knew everything was in place,” Penza said. “This has been a group effort by all the board members that have been hanging in there together the last 10 years working toward this goal.”
Vena, market board member and chairman of the facility’s marketing committee, said Storey is working hard to rebuild his strength.
“He is a strong guy who’s fighting his way back,” Vena said.
Vena also notes how market board member and marketing committee member John DiFeliciantonio, partner in Ryeco Inc., has also become highly involved in the market’s relocation since 2009.
After returning from a European vacation in 2003 which saw him making side trips to visit produce distribution facilities in Germany, Holland and Italy, Vena showed other wholesalers photos of a modern operation he viewed in Verona, Italy. The Philadelphia distributors incorporated some of that market’s features into its design.