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Andrews Bros. impressed by retailers' successful marketing efforts

by Daniel Jalil | January 10, 2011
DETROIT — Impressed by their zeal, Jeffrey J. Abrash, president of Andrews Bros. Inc., here, lauded the Detroit area's produce retailers and their aggressive and successful marketing efforts, which in turn buoy his business, which supplies them.

"We have a lot of really great retail customers that are marketing the heck out of produce, and we are very happy to be supplying them," Mr. Abrash said. “The Detroit [Produce] Terminal is a great source of supply for the retailers. We have a lot of aggressive retail customers, and they want to buy more so they can sell more.”

The other bookend of the Andrews Bros. success story is its suppliers. Mr. Abrash said, “2010 was a very good year for product quality and availability. That helps business.” He characterized business in 2010 as “good,” adding, “We are really positive about business here in Detroit.”

The company’s success has spurred a need to expand the staff at Andrews Bros., and Bob Ventimiglia began working full-time in sales for the firm Jan. 3. Mr. Ventimiglia previously worked with Andrews Bros. while completing his formal education. During his college years, “We exposed him to some opportunities in sales, and he decided this is what he wanted to do for a living,” Mr. Abrash said. A graduate of Central Michigan University, Mr. Ventimiglia is selling Andrews Bros.’ full product line, as do all the firm’s salespeople. He was “referred to us by family and that was his foot in the door.”

The firm’s organic business has held steady for the most part and is not a significant portion of Andrews Bros.’ business. However, Mr. Abrash said, “There are a few items — organic berries — that might have a little more traction so far.” He noted that berries in general are a consumer favorite. “We continue to see the berry category show growth. I think the consumer is in love with the berry category.”

The company distributes primarily in a roughly 300-mile radius around Detroit, including shipments into Canada, “but the bulk of the business is within a 200-mile radius,” Mr. Abrash said.