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T.M. Kovacevich-Philadelphia expanding with two additional units at PWPM

Tommy Kovacevich, general manager of T.M. Kovacevich-Philadelphia Inc., located on the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market, announced to The Produce News that the company, already one of the larger tenants on the market with its original occupancy of Units A-1 through A-6, was expanding as of May 1 by taking an additional two units.

“We are taking units B-1 and B-2, giving us eight units in total,” said Kovacevich.

T.M. Kovacevich International and T.M. Kovacevich-Philadelphia Inc. are separate entities, but both are owned by George Manos.

Fran Carfagno is the director of sales for T.M. Kovacevich International, and he holds the title of director of food safety. In August 2012 T.M. Kovacevich-Philadelphia received its U.S. Department of Agriculture Audit Program for GAP and GHP.

Kovacevich said that for many years the company’s strength was in premium fruits, but moving into the newly designed, cutting-edge terminal market opened up other doors for the company.

“Taking more space at the market provides us with the opportunity to expand our line considerably,” he said. “We are now a full-line distributor, and we handle virtually every fruit and vegetable available.

“Locally grown produce programs continue to be an important part of our distribution model,” Kovacevich continued. “And we have seen extensive growth in our direct store delivery program for local produce.”

Philadelphia is well known for its eateries of all levels, and T.M. Kovacevich services many of them. Kovacevich noted that increasingly more restaurant buyers and chefs are requesting locally grown produce when it’s in season.

“And the local produce we offer is only one hour away from all of our surrounding states,” Kovacevich pointed out. “Our local program is managed by Michael Verchio Sr., Rocky Verchio, Steve Riccelli and Marc Feola. Our daily deliveries of only the freshest of local produce have been very well received by our customer base.”

Locally grown produce is such an integral part of what T.M. Kovacevich does that it has developed its own brand name, “TMK Local,” to identify it. The company is proud to be part of the Delaware Valley’s premier Food Hub, which the PWPM is often referred to as.

“Growers from all over the region have a beautiful and safe venue to show and sell their fruits and vegetables,” the company states in its promotional flyer. “Produce arrives on our docks daily and is ready for sale. By bringing the farmers, retailers, restaurants and families together, we have created the ideal solution to the question: ‘How do I buy fresh daily?’“

Kovacevich explained that as the company approaches three years in the new PWPM facility, everyone at the company is as happy as possible.

“The improvements in efficiency have enabled us to reduce costs,” he said. “The ability to maintain the cold chain has continued to keep our quality even better than we could have anticipated. I don’t know how we lived in the old market for as long as we did.”

He added that the company’s customers continually express how happy they are.

“That was especially true this past winter as they were able to come indoors in the new facility during the many brutal snow storms and low temperatures that swept through the Northeast,” said Kovacevich. “The ability to have both people and product properly sheltered was a wonderful experience.”

Kovacevich also wants the word spread about its involvement with the Tour de Fresh charity event scheduled for October 2014. “Mike Watson, a sales rep, my brother, Nick, and I will be cycling in the 275-mile event,” he said. “This great cause is aimed at getting more salad bars into schools. We encourage the entire produce and ancillary industries to consider supporting it.”

More information on the event can be found at TourdeFresh.com.