BRONX, N.Y. — Gabriela D’Arrigo, vice president of marketing and communications at D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of New York Inc., paused as she walked by the loading trucks and pallet jacks carrying boxes of lettuce on the outdoor dock at Hunts Point Produce Market.
She pointed at trash bins, saying those will be enclosed with fencing. She also wants a storage room for the pallets.
D’Arrigo, 30, is clearing clutter at the company, both physically and logistically.
On the physical side, most important is “the sales booths are also enclosed, and it now has product on display in a temperature-controlled environment so it’s not out on the dock with frostbite and the heat,” D’Arrigo said.
Practically anyone — but especially the younger generation — who works at the 50-plus-year-old campus of buildings will say the place needs modernizing.
D’Arrigo is working toward that mission first with her own company.
Not to be confused by D’Arrigo companies in Massachusetts and California run by other family members, D’Arrigo New York is a wholesale distributor, one of the larger businesses of the 32-member cooperative at Hunts Point.
She has worked at family’s New York company for more than four years and is tackling more projects, such as expanding an organic line, and supplying meal kit delivery companies and local high-end restaurants.
On a broader scale, the company is streamlining operations, she said.
The company went through a rebranding 1 ½ years ago, and it began restructuring May 1, paring down five departments into three. The fruit, Eastern vegetable and specialties, Western vegetable, potato and onion, and bananas and tropical fruit divisions have simplified: It’s now fruit, vegetables and an off-site facility for bananas and tropical fruit.
The tropical fruit division is across the street from the official Hunts Point Produce Market property, leased when a banana company vacated it. D’Arrigo New York also handles local, independent retail delivery at the adjacent facility.
“We’re just two departments here now. As we grow, we’re looking to expand outside the five boroughs,” D’Arrigo said. “But slowly. We want to walk before we run.”
The goal is to complete the restructuring by June.“Fingers crossed,” D’Arrigo said.
There are initial complaints from the sales department, which has to sell unfamiliar produce after the consolidation, but they’ll gain that expertise quickly, she said.
“We’re trying to reduce redundancy and make it easier on customers, so they’re not walking back and forth talking to four different people. Now, it can be one person, and there are nicer booths for the salesmen,” D’Arrigo said.
Working inside his new fruit sales booth completed the day before, Nick D’Arrigo, 22, Gabriella’s cousin, isn’t used to selling berries. Those items were in the specialty division before restructuring.
“It’s growing pains. We’re doubling the amount of packaging we’re selling, and no more manpower,” Nick D’Arrigo said.