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Riggio Distribution continues tradition in Detroit produce scene

By
Keith Loria

With the calendar having changed to 2024, Riggio Distribution Co., is looking to build on what was a strong last year.

“2023 was a good year, very comparable to pre-COVID years,” said Dominic Riggio, president of Riggio Distribution. “Product was consistently available, transportation was not an issue and demand was strong.”

As an anchor tenant on the Detroit Produce Terminal, the company has long been a trusted, full-service fresh produce distributor and wholesaler, servicing the entire Midwest from its home base.

“Detroit and Southeast Michigan is a very competitive market,” Riggio said. “The demand for quality is very high, and at the same time our customers are very price conscience.”

The Riggio family has been working in the Detroit fresh produce industry for decades. 

“We are third-generation produce wholesalers and have many family and friends in the extended industry in our area, as well as country wide,” Riggio said. “Our grandfather (also named Dominic Riggio) immigrated here from Sicily, started as a peddler, eventually growing into a full-service wholesaler. Dominic’s son Phil learned the business, and eventually started his own wholesale route.”

In the mid ’80s, Phil Riggio took the gamble and opportunity to purchase a business on the Detroit Produce Terminal and today the company is owned and operated by Phil’s three sons, and many of the original relationships are still as strong as ever.

Riggio Distribution employs a fleet of refrigerated trucks and offers warehouse to warehouse as well as direct store delivery to all accounts. Its client roster includes both retail and food service, as it offers a full line of fresh fruits and vegetables that are shipped and received seven days a week to both corporate and independent customers of all sizes.

“Our customer base is a mix of independent retail, chain retail, independent foodservice wholesale, broadline foodservice distributors, as well as small and large scale food manufacturers,” Riggio said.   

One thing that has been a key to success has been working in the Detroit area and forming strong relationships with growers and customers. In fact, Riggio believes the Motor City is a top produce town in the nation and is only getting better.

“We continue to have strong growth in locally grown product, and we serve as a conduit for many local growers getting their product to market,” Riggio said. “We have the 12-month relationships with our customer base while the local growers are seasonal. We help the growers and the customers using our existing logistics and sales team to connect them. It is a win for the growers, a win for the customers, and a win for Riggio Distribution.”

Being a wholesaler of fresh produce presents different challenges every day, and the team at Riggio has the experience and know-how to work through any issues that pop up.

“It is in our nature to solve problems; every challenge provides a new opportunity,” Riggio said.

And it always has its eyes on growth opportunities with new and existing customers and suppliers.

“There are daily ideas and conversations leading to strategic planning; however, we know that in our industry many opportunities come along when you don’t expect them to,” Riggio said. “Part of our strategy is to remain nimble enough to react and capitalize on the opportunities we did not plan for as well as the ones we did plan on.”

Keith Loria

Keith Loria

About Keith Loria  |  email

A graduate of the University of Miami, Keith Loria is a D.C.-based award-winning journalist who has been writing for major publications for close to 20 years on topics as diverse as real estate, food and sports. He started his career with the Associated Press and has held high editorial positions at magazines aimed at healthcare, sports and technology. When not busy writing, he can be found enjoying time with his wife, Patricia, and two daughters, Jordan and Cassidy.

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