With over 35 years of experience in all levels of the Supply Chain, Anthony is a connector, building relationships between retailers, wholesalers, and grower-shippers.
I would like to share my journey in the fresh produce industry. The Journey began before I was born. I come from a long family heritage of entrepreneurs. One of my grandfathers was an ice man and the other was a grocery man. My father opened his grocery the year I was born. My Dad took the family business from an over-the-counter store to a “supermarket”.
As a young boy, my grandfather took me to his property and we gardened, grafted trees, groomed grape vines, raspberry, and blackberry plants. He taught me how to cultivate the plants, prune the plants, and pick the fruit and vegetables they bore.
As I teenager, I had a small lawn and garden tractor that I used to grow a one and a half acre garden. I plowed in the fall, tilled in the spring, and mowed all summer with this little tractor. I also did other people’s gardens and lawns as income while in school. Each year I would plant 500 tomato plants, stake and prune them as they grew, and then peddle the tomatoes.
After high school, I went to AG school for a semester. One semester was all it took to learn that I lacked the financial competency to start a farm, so I went to work in my Dad’s grocery store and got married.
I loved the produce department and all its seasonal supply of fruits and vegetables. This is where I learned to be a merchandiser.
I was born again while working as a produce manager in my father’s grocery store and, therefore, desired to go to Bible College and learn more about the basis of my Faith and practice. While in Bible College, I worked in a grocery chain store and learned the world of chain store management. It was quite different than the family run store.
After Bible College, I went to work for a produce wholesaler, Pisciotta Fruit & Vegetable Company. I sold to grocery stores and used my merchandising experience to service my accounts and gain their trust and business. By helping them grow their business, I earned their business. This method was tremendously effective and our business grew quickly.
I was approached to work as the Produce Director for Affiliated Foods, a grocery warehouse. I took the job knowing it would stretch me to run a warehouse program which supplied over 300 stores and six different advertising groups. I wrote the ads, chose our grower-shipper supply base, brands, and set the pricing. I managed a staff consisting of a merchandiser, a quality controller, a buyer, and a banana ripener. We had an average growth of 43% in the three years I was there.
I was then approached by the nation’s largest table stock potato grower. He was based in Idaho and had a 40,000 acre growing operation. I became a regional sales manager and helped double his sales that year. The following year he made me national sales manager. I lead the expansion bringing 7 regional managers and grew the program from an Idaho russet grower to selling all major varieties of potatoes from all major growing areas. We doubled the business each year for three years. While working for Basic American Foods as the National Retail Sales Director for Sunspiced USA, I represented two cooperatives which collectively made up approximately 100 potato growers. One co-op was in Washington and the other in Idaho. The Idaho co-op took the lead in promoting Sunspiced on a national basis. I took the lead in bringing in the US Potato Board to present their research from a $6 million study, the project lead to “reengineering the potato”. The study showed the need to market potatoes in different ways and that the industry needed to adapt to today’s consumer. I brought Mac Johnson in, for a special meeting where this material was presented. About 50 growers who came to hear him went out of that day’s session motivated to grow new varieties and understood the need for change.
In 1998, I founded Market Fresh Produce, successfully marketing produce to major restaurant chains and grocery stores, and even establishing a full-scale produce distribution warehouse. At Market Fresh, I began providing consulting services to members of the industry, and it was in this capacity that I identified my true passion…helping producers to increase their revenues.
In 2007, I transferred ownership of Market Fresh Produce to my business partners and launched Grow My Profits, a produce consultancy that maximizes producers’ returns by identifying the right product mix and appropriate sales strategies.
Drawing from my experiences with retail, wholesale, grower-shipper, business development, fresh produce procurement, supply chain management, marketing, sales and distribution, Grow My Profits helps members of the produce industry – wholesale distributors, growers, shippers, processors, re-packers, information technology providers, transportation providers, supply chain specialists, and educators – to identify and eliminate areas of waste, to implement positive innovative solutions, and to pinpoint improved business practices with the potential to maximize their returns, as well as to establish connections for business development with other members of the industry.
I look forward to working with you to help you grow your profits.