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Morris Okun expands at Hunts Point

by Joel Gebet | December 09, 2010
Morris Okun Inc., a fixture on Row B of the Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx, NY, recently purchased four-and-a-half units on Row D, and the firm's director, Roni Okun, could not be prouder of the purchase and of her team.

"We’re very excited about this, because it is the first time we’ve ventured off of Row B," Ms. Okun told The Produce News Dec. 8. “We want exposure on both sides of the market to enhance our customer base and expose the customer base of Rows C and D to the Okun operation.”

The firm, one of New York City’s older produce wholesalers, currently has 16 units on Row B of the terminal, where it has been located since Hunts Point opened in 1967.

Ms. Okun said that the firm received approval Dec. 7 for the purchase from the board of the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Cooperative Association, and expected to be operating from the new units Dec. 12.

“It’s a new venture and it’s a new area, but it’s a positive to expand,” Tom Cignarella, the firm’s president, told The Produce News Dec. 8. “When the company grows, it’s always a good thing. I think it’s great for Morris Okun, and we’re grateful for the opportunity that [Roni’s] given us. I’m looking forward to the whole adventure.”

Ms. Okun said that the firm has been “the dean of tomato knowledge for the past century,” and she said that it will continue to offer tomatoes, along with a full line of fruits and vegetables, at the new units.

The new operation will be run by Louis Venuti, who brings 25 years of wholesaling experience at Hunts Point, along with a “vast knowledge of the potato and onion industry,” she said.

Morris Okun Inc. is one of the older tomato repackers in the industry, Ms. Okun said, noting that the firm will utilize that experience to pack tomatoes, potatoes and onions, utilizing the “Okun” banner, in the new space.

“That’s what makes it so exciting, because 40 years later we’re now expanding to the other side of the market,” she said. “It’s a whole new world and a new venture for us, and there is a great deal of enthusiasm. We look forward to doing wonderful things over there.”