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Rocky's recent focus on foodservice leads to growth

by Daniel Jalil | January 10, 2011
DETROIT — Devoting more attention to foodservice business in recent years, Rocky Produce Inc. on the Detroit Produce Terminal, here, is seeing its efforts pay off as that segment of its business grows.

Dominic Russo, who is in sales and is a member of the family that owns the firm, said, "Our foodservice business has been growing strongly. All the foodservice items are strong. The quality we have been bringing in has been better than ever. We have put a focus on growing that end of the business over recent years. Retail has been steady. And the chainstores: We have always had good favor going into the chainstores." The foodservice business is not direct to foodservice outlets, but rather through wholesalers that service that market segment.

Mr. Russo said that 2010 “was very, very good. Sales were up, chains were good. Floor sales are what drives us every day, so that is a key component of what we do.”

Transportation is an element of the business on which Rocky has also placed an emphasis. “Timing is more important than ever. Therefore, the logistics end of the business is more crucial than ever before. It seems the window of opportunity is smaller than ever,” Mr. Russo said. “Trucking has been a tough deal for the past year. We have improved our trucking base and we will continue to do so. That is something that has been a big focus.”

To strengthen its transportation department, “We recently hired two new truck drivers,” Mr. Russo said. Additions have also been made to the warehouse staff, and in 2011, “We'll be looking to hire” more employees in general.

Rocky Produce’s continuing success requires the firm to continue to expand and improve its facilities to match its growth. Over the past few years, the company has completed a few expansion projects at the terminal and has recently finished another. “We have another section on the other side of the terminal that has been expanded and renovated,” Mr. Russo said of cooler space that is located elsewhere on the market separate from its primary area of operations.

He concluded, “It is a pleasure to do business in the city of Detroit. We thank God for the prosperity we have had, and we are excited about what is to come.”