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TMK Produce thrives in Philadelphia

By
Keith Loria

As long-time merchants on the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market, TMK Produce is a trusted name in the business and believes being in the city has been a big part of its success.

“Philadelphia is literally the East Coast produce hub,” said Tom Kovacevich, president of TMK Produce. “We have the largest fruit port in the U.S. We have huge New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania agricultural production — think blueberries, mushrooms, peaches, apples, watermelons, tomatoes, corn and so much more. These imports, exports and growing/shipping make Philadelphia an ideal city to be a regional produce distributor. The accessibility to transportation with all these deals is the foundation of success. Trucks move it all.”

TMKThere’s a lot of camaraderie between the companies at the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market, which also plays a role in why TMK Produce enjoys being there.

“I always say the secret sauce of this town is the way we work together,” Kovacevich said. “Together, we have built what has clearly become the benchmark of the modern wholesale produce market, and on top of being in the most advanced wholesale market in the U.S., we trade together to help our customers get what they need. This combination makes us all stronger and better able to satisfy the needs of our customers.”

After some challenges brought on by the pandemic in recent years, this summer will be the first in a while where TMK Produce will hit summer volumes with nearly a full staff.

“We have been short team members in the warehouse since the pandemic hit,” Kovacevich said. “Our incredible team stepped up throughout those difficult years and we feel like finally we can take a little breath. So, bring on the summer, we are ready.”

In 2024, business has been very steady for the company and overall, price increases have slowed down enabling case volume growth to catch up to dollar growth.

“Our average case price for April 2023 through April 2024 was $27.11 and for the prior year, the average was $26,” Kovacevich said. “The crazy stat is the change from 10 years prior, where the same period average case price was just $18.81. This reflects an average produce inflation rate of 3.75 percent over the last decade.”

TMK Produce has a very diverse customer base, the foundation of which is the independent retailer.

“This business is very much like sports, and no one cares how good a guy you are, you need to get hits, make passes and have the stamina to come through when things get difficult,” Kovacevich said. “We realize this and fight to score for our customers every single day.”

He added that the team is very excited for the upcoming summer season.

“We have very strong relationships with so many fantastic local farmers, these relationships have enabled us to build our TMK LOCAL DSD program, where we send our trucks daily to the farms to pick up tomatoes, corn, watermelons, peppers, blueberries, peaches and much more,” Kovacevich said. “These products come to the market and then go directly onto outbound trucks delivering fresh to our customers. This is a win for everyone, especially the shopper who’s able to get fresh and delicious fruit and vegetables every single day.”

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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