David Fishgold and several other produce veterans who had been handling Mexican-grown produce on the East Coast, moved from New York to Arizona in 2007 and formed a new company, Shipping Point Marketing Inc., based in Phoenix.
Concentrating on their existing customer lists and also adding new customers, “we really started strengthening our Mexican deal” in addition to continuing the importation of products “from all over the world,” most notably Spain, Ecuador, Italy and Holland, Mr. Fishgold told The Produce News.
“Right now we are pulling a lot from Chile,” he said. “We are very diversified. We are a new company. I think we owe our growth to our diversity” combined with the fact that “we have so little overhead,” with no warehouse and no trucks, which “creates pricing opportunities” for customers.
Shipping Point’s special niche, he said, is “smaller to mid-sized chains, broadliners and wholesalers who need our experience when it comes to overseas dealing and on-time deliveries.”
The company is “not really a broker for major chainstores,” and in fact many customers are retail chains with just two to four stores, he said. Those are “not interesting enough for the big brokers.” But Shipping Point has “a supply route that hits a lot of smaller to mid-sized chains, broadliners and wholesalers,” and the company’s niche is servicing that type of customer.
“We have a three-tier structure,” Mr. Fishgold said. In addition to suppliers and customers, “we also have a lot of experience in transportation.”
Shipping Point has “a terrific grower and shipper network,” he said. “Our grower relationships are really excellent. I would say that if you combine the quality of our product and timely deliveries, we have an awful lot of grower support, and they back us up with our programs. We work well with our growers, domestic and overseas, and [also with] our customers, so I would call it a three-way street.”
The company is bringing “a new concept to the business, which is really overseas brokerage,” he said. “We certainly have [many] direct deals, as a direct importer. But our ability to ship to smaller retailers is excellent — our ability to get places,” for example to a three- or four-store chain in Oklahoma or Illinois. “We can get there, and the cost would be very inexpensive” because of low overhead “backed up by quality control and really good transportation.”
Shipping Point handles an assortment of products, but Bell peppers from various sources constitute one of the company’s major items.
“If you take the Spanish pepper deal combined with Holland combined with Mexico and even Canada, that gives us really great pricing with colored Bells 12 months a year,” Mr. Fishgold said.
From Mexico, “we do grapes, melons, tomatoes, eggplant, squash and Culiacan peppers, and those are all direct grower relationships,” he said.
“We also quote sun-dried tomatoes from Turkey,” he added.
“All of that [product] is warehoused for us,” Mr. Fishgold said. “We pay very little per case for consolidation services.”