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New market very important to Procacci, but operations won’t change

The opening of the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market is like reaching “the promised land,” according to Mike Maxwell, president of Procacci Bros. Sales Corp. Inc. in Philadelphia.

“This is something we been waiting for for a very long time,” he told The Produce News June 21. “It is better than expected and we are very pleased with the new market. It was worth the wait. We are very pleased with the final result. We look forward to being in our new home and doing a lot of business there.”

Mr. Maxwell said that the market’s much-publicized cold chain integrity proved itself the opening week of the market, when record early-June temperatures soared into the 90s. Product distress that would have plagued the old market was absent in the new facility, which is cool throughout.

Procacci Bros. is unique in the city because it owns cold warehousing that surrounds the old Galloway Street market. Thus, expanding space was not a primary objective for the firm, as it developed its presence on the new market.

Mr. Maxwell said that his firm’s “new store” involves three units, which are “well-equipped and have eight temperature zones” within those units.

The floor plan in the units allows “optimum selection of goods” and there is plenty of capacity at the new market for Procacci customers “to enjoy one-stop shopping,” Mr. Maxwell said.

Every night that storage space is restocked with fresh product from Procacci’s other warehouses.

“I don’t need warehousing on the new market. I need shelf space slots and operating there is giving our customers more variety and availability on a daily basis.”

Mr. Maxwell said that the new market “store is a self-sufficient unit. It is a little farther” from Procacci’s other warehouses than the previous market, but otherwise “it makes no difference in our operations at all.”

The old market was a couple of blocks from Procacci’s warehousing. The new market is four miles away.

“On our platter for the last couple years was getting the new market up and running.” With that objective accomplished, “It is basically status quo here. We do what we do. We work every day on staying ahead of the trends.”

Mr. Maxwell said that it was the market that invited the board members of the New Jersey-based retail chain, Shop Rite, to come to the market for a tour on June 14.

“I am very thankful for them to come down. They appreciated the look and a lot their guys had never seen anything like that. They wanted to see what we are doing over here.”

Mr. Maxwell said that the Philadelphia market “will attract people from all over the world. It makes sense for them to see what we can offer.” He said the Shop Rite visit was “one of many visits from many retailers.”