Michael Muzyk (left), president of Baldor Specialty Foods, Bronx, N.Y., visits with Roger Pepperl, marketing director for Stemilt Growers, at the Stemilt booth during the 2018 New York Produce Show. ( Photo by Tom Karst )

The numbers of the New York Produce Show are impressive in their own right.

Organizers say the event, scheduled for Dec. 10-13 at the Javits Center in New York, boasts 5,000 attendees and about 400 exhibitors.

Beyond the numbers, people that attend the show say the event is valuable for a variety of reasons.

Marc Goldman, produce director at New York-based Morton Williams Supermarkets, said the location of the show allows his New York City produce managers to attend.

“It is great because we’re a New York chain, and it’s a New York show,” Goldman said, noting that his chain has stores in Manhattan. 

“I have 16 produce managers, and I go there with all of them.”

For one thing, the show presents an opportunity for produce managers to get out of the store and connect with the broader industry.

“I also really like getting their feedback when we’re going around and looking at items because they’re the ones that are in the stores all day talking to the customers, not me,” Goldman said.

“I’m in the store for 45 minutes, and then I need to go to the next store.” 

Getting the feedback from produce managers on new items is critical, he said.

“When we bring in new items, if they don’t buy into it, it’s not gonna work,” he said. 

“If they are all on board with (new items) it tends to work out a lot better,” he said.

Also, having the opportunity to put a face and a voice on a vendor is valuable, Goldman said.

The impressive backdrop of New York City in the holiday season brings an excitement to the show, said Josh Padilla, director of produce at New York-based Citarella.

The diversity and complexity of the Northeast market is reflected in the show’s attendance, Padilla said.

“New York City has so many different aspects of how to go to market,” he said, noting independent retailers, wholesalers in Philadelphia and New York’s Hunts Point market.

“It is definitely a show that brings up a lot more retailers than some of your shows,” he said. 

Vendors at the show bring leaders that understand the needs of the Northeast market, he said. 

Produce managers have a chance to get out of their stores and take in some of industry trends represented at the show.

“It is just a great opportunity to bring everybody together — vendors, retailers and wholesalers,” he said. 

Wayne Hendrickson, director of sales at Four Seasons Produce, Ephrata, Pa., said the firm will bringing big numbers to the show.

“We’re really excited about the show,” he said. 

“It’s right in our backyard here and we do a lot of business in New York City, so it’s a great time for us to be able to spend with our customers.”

Four Seasons has a booth where customers can come and review business for the current year and talk about the coming year, he said. 

“We are able to connect our customers and our vendors,” he said.

“We’re very transparent and we’re willing to work with our customers — they go to a booth and see someone with a product they want to carry; we’re able to make that connection for them,” he said.

 
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