Mac Riggan does not shy away from pitching new promotions to retailers, and that ambitious and optimistic attitude is one reason people believe he is successful as vice president of marketing for Chelan Fresh, Chelan, Wash.
Riggan always see the glass as half full, said Don Goodwin, president of Golden Sun Marketing, Minnetrista, Minn.
Tom KarstMac Riggan, Chelan Fresh “He has so much passion for our industry,” Goodwin said. “If we were all like him, I’m sure we would sell 50% more produce out there,” he said.
Goodwin said Riggan is a “shining star” in his willingness to create unique promotions.
“He is a go-getter,” said Terry Braithwaite, director of marketing for Chelan Fresh Marketing. “Mac is very outgoing and he truly believes in what he is trying accomplish,” Braithwaite said.
Riggan, 48, a graduate of the University of Washington in construction management, went to work in Seattle in various sales positions after college. He came home to his father’s produce business, Gwin White & Prince Inc., Wenatchee, in 1990 and started selling fruit. In 2003, Gwin White & Prince Inc. merged with Magi Inc., Brewster, Wash., and Brewster Heights Packing Inc., Brewster, to form AltaFresh LLC.
The next year, Chelan Fruit Cooperative and AltaFresh LLC consolidated their marketing programs the under Chelan Fresh banner.
Riggan was put in charge of marketing in 2004 because he was strong at finding new business, he recalled.
“The Trout label was world-renowned outside the U.S. but there was a huge need to develop retail business here in the U.S.,” Riggan said.
While Chelan Fresh may have sold 50% of its apples to export markets in 2004, the percentage is 30% today, he said.
“We’ve doubled the amount of high-end good retail business we have had in the last seven years,” Riggan said.
With the Washington Apple Commission’s domestic promotions ceasing in 2003, Riggan said he knew he had to offer retailers more than a lower price. He brought in different and innovative ideas for promotion.
“We got really creative, and I think because we were so new to some of it, we didn’t think anything wouldn’t work,” he said.
Riggan said Chelan Fresh gained a reputation for innovators and leaders and retailers were interested to talk to the firm. “Whether or not they bought into what we did, they wanted to know what they might be saying ‘no’ to,” he said.
Riggan said one of the things Chelan Fresh strives to do is to help retailers add value to fresh fruit products without adding price increases.
“One of the way we add value is if we can help a mom’s kids to eat more apples, pears and cherries because we have tied the produce to an NFL promotion or a Disney promotion, then that’s good,” he said.