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McAleavey family working together to market ‘terrific’ New York apple crop

As marketing agent for the New York Apple Association, John McAleavey coordinates sales and merchandising activities for the association from New England down through the mid-Atlantic region.

And after more than 40 years working in this capacity, he is getting some welcome assistance from his son, John Jr., and his daughter, Susan.

McAleavey-Group-2013John McAleavey Sr. with daughter Susan McAleavey Sarlund and son John McAleavey Jr. The younger McAleaveys are assisting their father in his role in coordinating sales and merchandising activities for the New York Apple Association.“We only have two accounts,” McAleavey explained. “The other is T. Marzetti, the Columbus, Ohio-based producer of salad dressings, dips, fruit glazes, croutons and toppings. We handle the New York metro market for Marzetti. Two major accounts such as these keep the three of us pretty busy.”

John McAleavey Jr. joined his father at the agency around eight years ago as sales coordinator and merchandiser.

“Growing up I had a bird’s eye view of my father’s work ethic, which had a very strong influence on me from an early age,” said the younger McAleavey. “When dad started representing these companies, he didn’t have a computer or access to emails, texts, social media and websites. Susan and I are helping him bring the agency up to current times with technology.”

He added that in return, his father is introducing him and his sister to the industry.

“Dad has many friends in many different facets of the industry,” he noted. “There’s a nice Rolodex of business associates, which has made it easier for Susan and I to include in our computer database today.”

After college, McAleavey Jr. worked in sports television for a couple of years before deciding to join his father’s business.

His father said that although the agency is doing quite well in its current status, the future might be different for his son and daughter.

“The kids are doing a great job in the business,” said McAleavey. “Susan joined nearly five years ago. She is heavily involved with the New York Apple Association. There’s a chance that the two of them may want to take on additional clients in the future.”

Susan McAleavey Sarlund initially worked with her father on behalf of the Eastern Produce Council, of which McAleavey is executive director. But she has taken on duties related to the NYAA for the past couple of years.

“Dad, John Jr. and I work collaboratively on the NYAA account,” said Sarlund. “We work closely with major retailers, wholesalers and distributors to provide them with point-of-sale materials, and manage tie-ins at the retailers on the Coaches vs. Cancer program, which the NYAA supports.”

Coaches vs. Cancer is a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Its goal is to increase cancer awareness to communities.

“We also help to drive home the local concept, which is huge today,” Sarlund added. “And we coordinated food shows for the NYAA, as well as attend them on its behalf.

“Marzetti also keeps us pretty busy,” she continued. “But we’re always willing to speak with other first-class operations to consider how we can assist them with their needs.”

For the moment, the McAleavey team is concentrating on the upcoming New York apple crop. They acknowledge that last year’s New York crop was a tough one, but things are lining up nicely for the coming harvest.

“We plan to go from ‘blossom to awesome’ with New York apples this year,” said Sarlund. “We had a nice long winter and a cool spring, which New York apples love. We’ll be working hard to get the word out to everyone possible, and doing everything we can to help market what we feel will be a really terrific crop this year.”