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Rock Butera, vice president of global sales and marketing for Nuovo International in Nashville, TN, told The Produce News that the full-service and marketing firm continues to focus strongly on the produce industry.

"Although we focus on six major industries - social media planning, music promotions, small business consulting, health clubs, finance and insurance, and the produce industry - produce is the backbone of our company and is where we place most of our resources and energies," said Mr. Butera. "Our strongest and most long-term relationships are with companies that produce or deal in tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. We do have clients that produce field-grown product, but we specialize in the greenhouse industry in Canada, the U.S. and in Mexico. We are also currently finalizing a client relationship in England."

Mr. Butera said that Nuovo International functions in a unique way. The company builds sales and marketing plans for its clients, who are producers and shippers, and it seeks out other growers that fit within their growth strategies. It does not get involved in selling or brokering product, but it does enter into contract agreements for its clients. It finds people who are looking for contract growers and joint venture partners and puts them together.

The company brings in expert consultants to work with clients in each of its divisions. "If you are a small grower and don't have a marketing officer or chief financial officer, we can do a full pro forma and business plan for your company," said Mr. Butera. "Our expert consultants get to know our clients in depth. They spend time at their operations and build long-term relationships. With our services, growers are better able to network in ways they cannot on their own."

One example Mr. Butera offered is Nuovo International's client Bimida Box, a full-service packaging company in Kingsville, ON. Kris Moauro, president of the company, said, "Rock and his team created a great web site and laid out our annual marketing plan. Their understanding and vision of the industry is incredible. We look forward to having Nuovo as part of our team for a long time."

Another satisfied client, Mor Gro Farms Inc. in Leamington, ON, a greenhouse tomato, cucumber and pepper grower, is expanding its operation to bring in grower-partners from Mexico and Southern California. Dave Pereira, sales and marketing manager for the company, said that Nuovo International is one of the better investments the firm has made. "Nuovo's ability to enhance our web activity, social network connectivity, grower base and overall company perception is second to none," he said.

In business since 1999, Nuovo International has between 25 and 30 clients at any given time.

"Our services are a new concept for smaller growers and farmers," said Mr. Butera. "We establish a real business backbone for produce companies who are looking to increase their sales. We help them build a strategy and establish relationships that enable them to reach their goals. We want people to know that the size of their company is irrelevant to us and our services. We give the same attention and dedication to each of our clients regardless of size or culture."

Nuovo International has a full-time staff of 25 people. Its goal is to add another 10 employees by 2015. "We are bringing in two to three people a year," said Mr. Butera. "These people are industry experts and are highly qualified to consult our clients."