The Tony Vitrano Co. sees business getting back to normal
The Tony Vitrano Co. has long relied on its trusted team members to keep the business successful, and many employees are like family. So, it was bittersweet to see two of its long-time employees retire in 2022.
Mark Evans, a salesperson who had been part of the company for more than four decades, and Rose Fischer, a bookkeeper, who had called the office her second home since 1952.
She was there when the company, which was originally located in downtown Baltimore before moving to The Pennsylvania Railroad Produce Terminal, moved to the new Maryland Wholesale Produce Market in Jessup, MD, where it remains today 16 miles south of Baltimore.
“We, as well as the many other produce businesses in the area, serve much more than the Baltimore area,” said Tony Vitrano, president of the company. “There are many produce and food distributors located in the corridor between Baltimore and Washington DC, and serve the two metropolitan areas as well as parts of Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania.”
The company is led by Vitrano along with Joe Vitrano, Norman Vitrano, Mark Kellermann and many long time, experienced employees. Together, they ensure that business remains strong and customers are happy.
“Business seems to be a bit stronger than last year, as hopefully the COVID-19 crisis is in the rearview mirror,” Vitrano said. “During 2020 and 2021, between illnesses, positive tests, and caring for family members, it seems like were never fully staffed. Things seem to be getting back to normal now and business is improving.”
Those in the produce industry will find one question the company got often during the last two years rather humorous.
“People unfamiliar with the Terminal Market Produce business always asked us if working from home was a possibility for us — and after laughing to ourselves, we explain that it’s not an option,” Vitrano said. “This is a hands-on, seven-days-a-week business. We need to be there where the action is happening.”
Vitrano’s grandfather founded the company in Baltimore in 1932, with his father, Justin Vitrano, joining the business in the early ’50s, followed by his brother, Norman a decade later. For Vitrano, the produce business is all he’s ever known and is proud to be continuing the legacy and carry on the family name. And the business continues to grow annually.
“Our area has always had a strong immigrant population, and today is no different,” Vitrano said. “Each group of immigrants brings more diverse items that eventually find their way into mainstream produce departments. The number of items we carry today is probably three times greater than just 20 years ago.”
Despite challenges, such as the high overhead costs and other prices increasing significantly over the past year — as things like pallet wrap, office supplies, insurance and repair costs are much higher than last year — the Tony Vitrano Co. continues to flourish and expects to finish 2022 very strong.