Ronnie Cohen, vice president of sales for Vision Import Group LLC, in River Edge, NJ, said that the company continues to promote its primary products, including limes, lemons, mangos, pineapples and clementines.
“We launched a new item this year,” said Mr. Cohen. “It’s a two-pound bagged lime item in a modified-atmosphere package with the ‘Mojito’ label. Along with our main items, we will be featuring the new package at our booth, number 1005, at the New York Produce Show & Conference.”
Mr. Cohen said that as with any regional show, the New York Produce Show offers an intimate setting, and local merchandisers and other produce professionals are able to attend.
“This is particularly good for us because we’re located in the Northeast,” he added. “Retailers and distributors are unable to send people other than executives to the national shows. Regional shows provide them with the opportunity to send store and produce managers, and distributors can send other staff members. This is highly beneficial to them as well as to us.”
He added that New York City is a great place for a produce show, especially in the fall, when it is highly active and gearing up for the holidays.
Vision Import Group’s three principles are Raul Millan, Bill Vogel and Mr. Cohen.
The company has a strategic alliance with Tavilla Sales Co. of Los Angeles. Although Vision and Tavilla are separate companies, they share the same commodities and synergies, and they share some growers. In this way, the growers know there is opportunity to move supplies to one or both of the companies as f.o.b. prices fluctuate. This results in value to everyone throughout the supply chain. “The idea behind the alliance is to ensure the best possible return to growers,” said Mr. Cohen. “You have to let the farmer eat or you won’t have anything to sell the next year. Sometimes we can push product to a certain area of the country to get the highest return, but at the same time give our customers the best possible deal.”
Vision Import Group is highly conscious of quality over quantity. Mr. Cohen said that it trademarks and brands its year-round commodities so people will recognize the products and relate them to high quality. This benefits the growers and it means better profits for everyone.
Vision Import Group is the exclusive distributor of “Mojito” limes, “Mr. Squeeze” lemons from Mexico, “Miss E.Z. Peel” Spanish clementines, “Mango Maniac” mangos and “Suemi” Brazilian mangoes.
“Our mangos are sourced from Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Guatemala, moving with the seasons throughout the year,” said Mr. Cohen. “Limes are from Mexico, with some windows during the year when they’re produced in El Salvador, Colombia, Guatemala and sometimes in Ecuador.”
Mr. Cohen added that the company has set a goal to open a sales office in the Southeastern region of the United States.
“It’s not definite yet, but we would like to have an office open in that area within 12 to 18 months,” he said.
“We are also in talks with some growers in foreign countries about partnering on a growing level,” he added. “This is in an effort to become more vertically integrated. The foreign producers we work with are Global Good Agriculture Practices-certified, which is an even higher standard than our domestic programs. This is a necessity today. People can be confident that our products are safe all the way through the food chain to the end user.”
Vision Import Group is in its fourth year of business. Mr. Cohen said, “We’re old souls, but a new company. Our staff has a combined 80 to 90 years of experience. Two of our sales reps, Henry Kreinces and George Uribe, are 20-plus year graduates of the ‘University of Hunts Point,’ as are Raul and I.”
The company’s mission statement notes that customer and grower partnerships flourish when all involved are up to date with information on product availability, market price points, trends, weather and other variables that influence commodities.
“Our mantra is ‘Todos tenemos que comer,’” said Mr. Cohen. “It translates to ‘We all have to eat.’”