Doing business at Hunts Point
The Hunts Point Produce Market in the Bronx, NY is the largest produce terminal market in the world, seeing more than 210 million packages of produce trading annually, representing nearly $2.3 billion in sales.
The market supplies a wide range of produce items throughout the New York Metro and surrounding areas, reaching more than 23 million people.
“The market mirrors what goes on in New York and is just a melting pot of its own,” said Phillip Grant, general manager of Hunts Point. “You can find whatever you need and you get a little bit of everything.”
Between the 30 member firms at the Hunts Point Market, if someone isn’t able to get something, it’s a good bet that someone else will be able to fill that request.
Hunts Point works primarily on what is called the “spot market.” Prices can change daily and even during the day, fluctuates due to many factors. That unknown creates a very dynamic and exciting environment to do business, which also makes Hunts Point so special for so many.
Paul Kazan, president of Target Interstate Systems, said a challenge of the spot market is you can’t always anticipate exactly what capacity you will need on a daily basis.
“Our logistics group, in conjunction with communicating with our customers what their needs are, creates a daily inventory of available trucks in any given produce region,” he said. “Once we know what trucks are available, we offer them to our customers at the prevailing rate. For a lot of our customers off the market that do not solely work on the spot market, we offer them a contract approach to mitigate the volatility of the spot market.”
Gabriela D’Arrigo, vice president of marketing and communications for long-time Hunts Point tenants D’Arrigo New York, noted customers have different styles when coming to the terminal and the way they navigate the market.
“The Hunts Point street buyer, which is what they are usually called, will come in and touch as many houses in the market as they can, getting updated on what they have and what the prices are,” she explained. “The buyers are very strategic and tactful in their approach. Often times, they are buying for 15-20 stores. Some will even rent office space here. They want to make sure they are getting the best deal for their customers.”
New customers may be intimidated at first, but D’Arrigo recommends reaching out to a firm on the market first and getting a starting point and someone to talk to.
“This market was not built for the amount of people who now inhabit New York City, so it can be very confusing,” she said. “On the flip side, the Hunts Point Market is doing a lot to alleviate those stresses for people coming in.”
For instance, new signage is going up, maps are given out at the front gate, and the website has been updated and provides all the information about any given company, including what they sell, where they are located and points of contact.
Grant noted the market has stayed resilient throughout the pandemic and recent strike, which saw workers hit the picket line for one week in January over wage issues, which ended with a three-year contract being signed.
“One of the things that we see is how adaptable we are,” he said. “We haven’t missed a beat in terms of operations. We have COVID-19 protocols in place to keep everyone safe. Yes, some companies may have lost business because of the restaurants shutting down, but companies have been adaptable, flexible and resilient.”
The ecosystem of Hunts Point and the generational experience in each firm are keys to the market running so smoothly.
“What I love about this market is everyone is willing to pitch in or point you in the right direction and impart their knowledge,” Grant said. “It’s very important that we’re engaged within the community and giving back.”