With more than three decades of experience in produce sales and distribution,
George Dziak, head of GD Fresh Distribution Inc. in Clackamas, OR, knows
how to move fresh product efficiently between source and receiver.
In recent years, however, Mr. Dziak has seen an increase in the number of
shippers with single truckloads or carloads of produce to be handled, and he
told The Produce News that moving those smaller quantities can be
While GD Fresh has been able to move the product in most cases, the time-
cost equation has not always been profitable. But it was inspirational.
"I often thought, 'I wish I could just push a button and sell the product,'" Mr.
Dziak said. And now he can, using a service he conceived and recently
introduced on-line at ProduceOverload.com.
Matching buyers and sellers on a unique web site geared specifically to the
produce industry and encompassing more than 50 items from apples to
zucchini, ProduceOverload is a centralized electronic marketplace that keeps
product fresh by limiting postings to 72 hours.
Mr. Dziak said that initial emphasis will be on domestic shipments, although
ultimately the service will work to link shippers and receivers around the
Designed by Enginehaus Studios in Seattle, the site provides a comprehensive
list of fresh items, and by clicking on an item, a shipper or buyer can post a
detailed want-to-sell or want-to-buy listing through a proprietary and
intuitive search engine and messaging system.
Mr. Dziak explained that the postings can be removed "immediately if a buyer
and a seller connect on the first contact."
The poster needs only to cancel the post as "mission accomplished," he said.
"If there is no immediate response, then the post is taken off after 72 hours,"
Mr. Dziak went on to say that prior to the removal, the poster will be
reminded periodically that the message will be taken down, allowing for a
repost and no lost time.
The site is accessible around the clock, and, as stated on the home page,
there "is no middle man, and there are no complicated transactions fees."
Small growers and major corporations are subject to the same fee structure,
which includes a free 30-day trial.
"The beauty of our site is the cost," Mr. Dziak said. "Who can afford not to be
The produce veteran joked that it was "laziness" that led him to
ProduceOverload, although efficiency is inherent to his background as a
distributor of potatoes, onions, tomatoes, melons and pineapples.
"Really, the concept for ProduceOverload is not new," he said, citing
Craigslist.com as "a parallel." Mr. Dziak also cited Internettruckstop.com and
said that the site is another example of successful e-commerce.
Still, Mr. Dziak described himself as old-school and said that he leaves the
high-tech applications to the webmaster and also to his son, Michael, whose
Enhanced Video Images operation has assisted in site development.
"I come from a background of produce distribution," Mr. Dziak said. GD Fresh
was started in the early 1990s, but he began operations in 1960 in Montana,
where he bought potatoes and then transported them and sold them in
After several years of selling Montana spuds to Washington receivers and
returning with Washington goods for Montana receivers, Mr. Dziak moved his
family to Spokane, WA, and continued his distribution operation across the
northern U.S. Rocky Mountain region and the Northwest.
GD Fresh's Clackamas, OR, offices opened with the Dziak family's move to the
Portland, OR, region in 1992.
"Initially, we went direct to retail," he said of sales. But as the retail market
segment consolidated, GD Fresh began selling more to cooperatives and
member warehouse groups. Today it distributes direct to major wholesale and
foodservice distributors and continues to handle its five major items, sourcing
mainly domestically but supplemented with some product from Mexico and
pineapples from offshore sources.
"We pride ourselves on knowing where to find the best quality at the best
pricing," he said.