E.W. Kean unleashes power of internet

Situated on the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market, E.W. Kean Co. Inc., carries a full line of local, domestic and international products, and the company has a philosophy revolving around change.

“Post-holiday season, things aren’t too crazy business wise, but everything in this business is constantly changing,” said Louis Kean, a salesman at the fourth-generation family-owned wholesale produce distributor. “We’re constantly changing inventory—while continuing to carry our staples—and constantly trying new things and trying to expand our outreach and get new customers.”

IMG 3475Lois KeanFor instance, the company has made a concerted effort to expand in the international arena.

“We see some of the bigger companies bringing containers down to the airport now and we’re trying to keep up with all that,” Kean said. “The business is extremely demanding already, sometimes we are here 6-7 days a week, 12-14 hours a day, but it’s important to try new things and not to get discouraged.”

The family understands that no business is ever guaranteed and even if they have a customer, things can change on their end, impacting the overall business.

“It’s a very volatile business and things change, and you have to accept that failure is inevitable but learning from failure is one of the best ways to learn and improve,” Kean said.

Through the first quarter of 2019, E.W. Kean Co. has been busier than last year at this same time, and Kean credits that with its push to get new customers.

“This winter wasn’t as bad as it was last year, so we started off on a positive outlook in the first few months of 2019,” he said. “There’s only a handful of companies at the terminal that are online and that has helped us.”

In fact, this is the first year that the company has hired someone to run its online presence, and that’s been a major reason why it’s been busier than ever. Not only has the website improved, but they connect with people on social media and reach out to restaurants and other potential customers about doing business with them.

“It’s been really effective, and we didn’t think it would be but that’s something that more distributors are becoming a part of,” Kean said. “We just started in January and we’ve been really happy with the results.”

Now that Easter is over, the company had a slow week and a half, but it knows that come May 1, things kick into high gear again because the government money comes in and the nicer weather leads to more business.

E.W. Kean Co. has added two new employees this year to help handle some of the growth it is seeing and is looking forward to success in the year ahead.

“We have 60-70 percent of our customers within an hour of Philadelphia and the remaining customers coming from the Shore points, Washington, Virginia and Pennsylvania,” Kean said. “That number seems to be growing every week as well and we’re working hard to ensure that we stay ahead of the curve with meeting all their needs.”

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