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Ira Greenstein, president and owner of Direct Source Marketing Inc., headquartered in Mount Kisco, NY, told The Produce News that the company is excited and proud to be celebrating its first full year in business.

The firm is an East Coast sales and marketing representative for California stone fruit and table grapes as well as Mexican table grapes. It also manages a Chilean import program for Hass avocados, table grapes and stone fruit.

"From September through May, we focus directly on imports from South America," said Mr. Greenstein. "From May through the end of November, we specialize in California stone fruit and table grapes from California and Mexico."

Direct Source Marketing manages its forward distribution service through a cold storage facility in Pittsgrove, NJ, which is geared toward inventory replenishment for the retail industry. It also services wholesalers and the foodservice market.

Mr. Greenstein offered an example of how the company services its clients. "A large retailer in New Jersey may be on promotion with table grapes but falls short of product because a truck has broken down. It needs 2,000 boxes of table grapes the next day. The company calls us, and we will deliver … within a day. We can supply product within a 24- to 28-hour time period from Maine to Florida and west to Kentucky. We're there to help retailers manage their inventory needs by offering consistent supplies of these commodities."

Direct Source Marketing had a unique start. For six years, Mr. Greenstein and his staff of four exclusively handled the East Coast sales and marketing division for Z&S Fresh Inc., a produce company that was headquartered in Fresno, CA. The firm closed its doors in June 2009, leaving a considerable amount of unpaid debt to numerous companies in the industry.

"We started Direct Source Marketing with the same commodities and the same customers that we were handling for Z&S," said Mr. Greenstein. "When the company closed its doors, many of the growers and vendors I do business with were affected. It was a tremendous challenge to get our company up and running because of the financial problems resulting from the Z&S closure.

"With 23 years of experience in the produce industry, I know that maintaining your integrity is the key to success," he continued. "It was imperative for us to maintain the relationships we had established in the past. We had to reinvent ourselves over the past year and regain the trust of our associates. We have been able to accomplish that goal. Today, we are proud of our credit rating and our financial integrity. As we celebrate this, our first year in business, we are happy to report that we are financially independent."

Mr. Greenstein praised his dedicated staff, who he said also went through a challenging time when Z&S closed its doors. They are committed to the success of Direct Source Marketing, he said, and credited them with its evolvement into the honorable trading company it is today.

"We import, buy and sell, but at the end of the day, our success is dependent upon not only how we maintain our market but also on how we navigate through the challenges," Mr. Greenstein said.

Direct Source Marketing is now preparing for the start of its Mexican and California table grape seasons. The company also has a year-round sweet onion program that includes Vidalia, Peruvian and Mexican products. Its Vidalia onion marketing program will start the first week in May. "From September through February, we import over 100,000 boxes of Peruvian sweet onions," said Mr. Greenstein.

He concluded, "We invite retailers, wholesalers and foodservice operators to contact us by phone or e-mail to learn more about us and our services."