ST. LOUIS — Sean Kelley is in his first year as market manager of the St. Louis Produce Market Inc., having taken the position held by his late father, Pat Kelley. Pat Kelley passed away in January 2014 after losing a battle with colon cancer. Sean Kelley said he had worked on the market for five years with his father, so he is very well-acquainted with the market operators and their needs. Pat Kelley worked on the St. Louis market for 25 years.
An ongoing project to replace the huge roof of St. Louis’ Produce Row was almost half completed, Sean Kelley told The Produce News in late winter.
The market, opened in 1953, has two main buildings that are each 1,235 feet long and 114 feet wide.
“A nice new roof is important. It will keep us here for another 50 years,” he noted.
Kelley said the roof repairs first go to the sections most in need of repair.
While the market is old, it is in good condition. He said the tenants have paid to replace their refrigeration in the market.
“The people here are dedicated to being here. They could move, but they are all dedicated owners and they want to see this market succeed,” he said.
A new improvement in market operations is an effort to recycle waxed cardboard. Also, a third party is beginning work to recycle organic products with an anaerobic digester.
The market now saves money by owning its own snowplow and has hired a skilled maintenance person. The snowplow was put to good use this past — and very snowy — winter.
Kelley said St. Louis received 5.6 inches of snow in December 2013 and 15.8 inches this January.
In the last few years, the market has also added a new gate and fenced in the entire market property.