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An invitation from D’Arrigo

By
Seth Mendelson

Officials at D’Arrigo have an open invitation to attendees coming to the New York Produce Show: While attending the event, before or after, come visit their headquarters at the Hunts Point Market in The Bronx and get a much better feeling for what the company does and how it does it.

“The show is really in our backyard in New York City,” said Gabriela D’Arrigo, vice president of marketing and communications and a fourth-generation family member. “We view the event as a great chance for suppliers and customers to see us on our home turf and to visit our facilities and how we handle product.”

Calling it an opportunity for attendees to experience a “day in the life of our wonderful company,” D’Arrigo stressed that people who do visit the operation will walk away with a much better understanding on how the 75-year-old wholesaler operates, how they would benefit from a deeper relationship with it and why they should do more business with the company.

In fact, D’Arrigo emphasized the value her company puts on educating the trade to what the company does and what they need to do to offer consumers the best quality product. “Our agenda is actually very simple,” she said. “It is actually just talking to the buyers and understand what they are looking for. And, then we talk to our suppliers and make sure they are part of the educational process as well, particularly when it comes to such things as shelf life and the integrity of the items.”

The focus on educating the trade has paid off nicely for D’Arrigo. “We like to believe that we have exclusivity with some of the best suppliers in the industry,” she said. “Now, we make sure that we communicate with our suppliers, many of whom have been with us for decades. Together, our job is to get as much information out to the trade as we can about product description, taste and quality so that it becomes an easier sell. Any description you can give on products will make it easier to educate the consumers.”

The invitation to visit headquarters, does not mean that the show itself is not extremely important. D’Arrigo said that the event creates a great deal of interaction between suppliers, buyers and D’Arrigo’s entire team that can solidify existing relationships, develop new customers and make sure everyone knows what the wholesaler can deliver. “With our entire team at the New York show, we look at it as a big think tank that happens to take place on our home turf with our entire team in attendance,” she noted. “Then, we have the added benefit of inviting them back to our headquarters to see even more.”

D’Arrigo works with more than 1,500 retail and foodservice customers serving dozens of different ethnic groups in the increasingly diverse and expanding New York area. Among the categories that the wholesaler is showcasing is its growing tropical program.

“We brought Marvin Santana, who has a lot of experience in the tropical area at other New York wholesalers and his family-owned company at one point, to run this business for us about 10 years ago,” she said. “We recognize the need for more Latin American products with a huge demographic of Latins in the area and knew that we needed an expert to determine what products we needed to start carrying. Now we have a robust program, offering a multitude of items.

“Frankly, even I did not know some of these items. Now I am so impressed and excited with what he has done with this program, which allows us to distribute to customers we could not handle in the past,” D’Arrigo continued. “It is a very big growth area for us and we are quite excited about the future of this program.”

In the end, D’Arrigo sees itself as a middleman in a complex, exciting and growing industry. “We have ability to work with everyone to see how what products work and how we all can benefit,” said D’Arrigo. “We can help with buying opportunities, varieties and customer savings as well as educate them to better serve the communities they are in. We have the whole gamut of offerings here and can work with everyone to determine what is best for their stores.”

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