Vena said wholesalers wanted to construct a building that did more than only physically handle produce.
“The feeling was this is a trading place for produce,” he said. “Not a warehouse and not a distribution center, but a place where people could come to buy and sell fresh fruit and vegetables. It needed to have a vibration or those good feelings we were hoping for. People will be energized when they come into this market. Customers can walk the market, see the product and make their own decisions about quality and freshness. We wanted to create a marketplace, not a distribution center.”
Majoring in advertising in college, Vena worked at Indianapolis advertising agencies for two years after graduating from Butler University, Indianapolis, in the mid-1970s. His father, John Vena, convinced him to return to the family business, where he started by selecting produce and sweeping the floors of the one unit produce operation. He moved into sales in 1977.
Penza is one of the three stockholders of Pinto Bros., which was founded in 1972.
Nardella was working in the produce industry when the old market opened in 1959. His business is set to begin its 30th year in November.
James Storey, Jimmy Storey’s grandfather, and Dan Storey, Jimmy Storey’s uncle, started Quaker City in 1954.
Kovacevich opened in 1986 and Procacci Bros. traces its roots to 1935 when 8-year-old Joseph Procacci sold produce from a push cart.