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Krichmar Produce gearing up for strong Chilean imports

Jay Krichmar

Jay Krichmar, president of Krichmar Produce Co. Inc. in Vineland, NJ, told The Produce News that the peak of the Chilean fruit movement into the Northeast forces the company to put on extra trucks to handle the increased business.

“Volumes pick up strongly from January through April,” said Mr. Krichmar. “And our fleet of 12 tractors isn’t enough to handle the demand. Although we do offer full-load services, our specialty is less-than-trailer-load shipments that arrive at the Wilmington, Delaware, or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ports. All cold storage facilities are full during this period, and there is plenty of good LTL movement.”

Krichmar Produce’s customers are both importers and buyers throughout the Northeast, which Mr. Krichmar said the company “covers like a blanket.” Because of its location, the company can provide overnight and even same-day deliveries. It ships to retailers, wholesalers and to foodservice operation warehouses.

“We’re split about half and half with customers,” he said. “If we’re hired by the buyer, we move the product f.o.b. If the importer hires us, we ship as delivered loads.”

Mr. Krichmar started the company in southern New Jersey 16 years ago. Most of the firm’s business is done with wholesalers up and down the Eastern Seaboard, primarily in Boston, New York and Miami, with chainstores and purveyors comprising the balance.

Mr. Krichmar announced a recent company promotion. Moises Lozano has worked with the company for about eight years as a dock quality-control supervisor. “We brought Moises up to the ranks of a buying and selling position,” said Mr. Krichmar. “He has really proven himself over the years, and we know he’ll continue to do a great job for our company.”

He added that competing in the trucking business can be a real challenge. “There are guys with three or four trucks who tread water as long as they can, but most eventually dissolve,” he said. “In the long term, we’re able to eventually demonstrate our difference by our great reputation. We don’t miss deliveries. We have all-new equipment. We follow up with customers. We do our rounds first thing in the morning, and we provide our customers with peace of mind.”

Krichmar Produce recently completed an upgrade to its Vineland facility to keep it up to code for third-party auditing. “We just invested $50,000 for the upgrade to maintain the audit standard,” said Mr. Krichmar. “This, too, is one of the differences between our company and others. We reinvest into our business to keep it as current as possible and in line with industry trends and regulations.”