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D’Arrigo New York setting strategy for summer season

By
Keith Loria

Operating in a 112,000-square-foot warehouse at the Hunts Point Produce Market with an additional 30,000-square-foot facility across the street in the Bronx, NY, which houses its retail delivery and banana ripening operations, D’Arrigo New York is one of the most important produce players in New York state.

“It’s been an interesting few months, and in the last few weeks, things have definitely kicked up a notch; we’ve been busier, or as busy as we were in January of 2019,” said Gabriela D’Arrigo, vice president of marketing for the company. “Any time the weather starts to warm up things get better. People are wanting to be outside, people are more active and comfortable to do so. We’re hoping that this is a big indicator for how the rest of the summer going into fall will go.”

Around New York, things are opening up a lot more as vaccinations rise, with many restaurants at 100-percent capacity. That’s good news for the produce industry and companies like D’Arrigo New York that services them.

“Still, it’s not what it was and it’s a slow rebirth of the city,” D’Arrigo said. “Right now, what we’re seeing is a lot of younger kids coming back. You’re seeing rents drop to get people to come back in and a lot of these younger kids are grabbing that up. But, you know, once things start to get a little bit better and pick back up and those prices go back up, those kids will rotate out and we’ll start to get a different type of age bracket coming in here. I do think it will be a very slow progression.”

That’s changing the company’s strategy a bit.

“Going into the next year, you’re usually able to look back at the year prior year and reflect and see what worked and didn’t and use that as your guidelines,” D’Arrigo said. “We’re not going to have that for a while. 2020 was a bust, we can’t go back and look at 2019 because we’re just not in that time anymore. So in 2021, and I think even part of 2022, is going to be a lot of just navigating as we go.”

For the summer, D’Arrigo expects to see heavy interest in peaches, tree fruit, plums and nectarines.

“The familiarity is kind of comforting,” she said. “You’re going to see the watermelons picking back up this year. The seasonal items seem to kind of be able to kick up and come back where they usually are. And we’re seeing a lot of garlic, ginger, aloe, a lot of these different herbs that we sell because everyone is very interested in the immune-boosting products since COVID-19.”

D’Arrigo New York recently acquired a new building in the Bronx that is set to be operational later this year.

“Having that extra space is just more of attempting to plan ahead as much as possible, and being as nimble as possible so when we change something, we can have a couple different options,” D’Arrigo said.

“We’re very excited about that. It’s tough to get trucks in and out of this market so having facilities outside the market that are close is something we’re very much looking forward to having in our back pocket.”

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