Penza and other wholesalers say the general economic slowdown prompts them to only work harder and work to better serve their customers.
Mike Maxwell, president of Procacci Bros. Sales Corp., said Philadelphia remains strong.
“The city is doing well,” he said. “The whole atmosphere of the city is upbeat. If you visit a city where lots of things are happening, there’s a euphoria that attracts people.”
Rick Milavsky, vice president of BRS Produce Co., in front of his produce display on the Philadelphia Regional Produce Market.
Though Richard Nardella, chief executive and financial officer of Nardella Inc., admits he hast been affected by the economic slowdown, he said business has remained strong.
“Because of the economy, most of our customers have had a little downswing,” Nardella said. “Restaurants are feeling it the worst. Retailers are slightly down, but for the most part their business is staying steady. Business is good. Everyone is hoping the economy will bounce back, and I am excited about the future.”
Rick Milavsky, vice president of BRS Produce Co., also characterizes sales as consistent despite the downturn in the economy,
“Everyone has been struggling,” he said. “You hear it from all of your customers. All the customers, the little people and the big ones, you see them paying a little slower. They all say they’re just paying their bills but are happy to be working. If you want to work, you just hang in there. Eventually, it will level out.”
Sales have been positive for distributors outside of the metropolitan area of Philadelphia, such as Four Seasons Produce Inc., Ephrata.
“From what I can tell and the communication we get from customers, it’s a better year this year on the East Coast,” said Ron Carkoski, president and chief executive officer. “For the most part, they are seeing things stronger, better and there’s kind of a resurrection coming back to the business. It’s not back to what they would consider strong, but it has what I would call a fragile strength — a strength that wasn’t there at the end of last year.”
Carkoski said demand appears to be stronger and that he can see customers getting back into ordering.
He said Four Seasons’ customers seem to possess a more positive attitude on spending.
Four Seasons focuses on distributing produce to retailers and wholesalers.