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Tracie Levin is first woman to serve on Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market board

By
Keith Loria

M. Levin and Co., Inc. is a family-owned-and-operated, full-line wholesale produce distribution company based out of the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market.

“Our roots are in Philadelphia. In 1906, we were the first to bring bananas into the region,” said Mark Levin, CEO of the company. “We distributed them all over Philadelphia and surrounding areas. We quickly expanded to carry a full line of fresh produce.”

The past two years have been some of the most challenging in the company’s long history, and Levin noted he can’t even quantify how business was in 2020 and 2021 and is hoping that 2022 can be compared favorably to that of pre-pandemic numbers.

“So far, 2022 is much like 2021 — there is lots of rapidly changing variables within the produce industry, political sphere, as well as pandemic life,” Levin said. “With COVID-19 still here, business hasn’t entirely returned back to ‘normal.’ There’s still hesitation when it comes to in-person get togethers, although it seems that that is hopefully starting to change. Conventions and get togethers are starting to re-appear.”

Still, there are still a plethora of transportation issues, such as trucker vaccine mandates, issues at the border, insanely high costs of fuel, lack of available equipment and drivers and a host of things that lead to many challenges with conducting business in a normal way.

“The second quarter of 2022 for us is off to a good start,” Levin said. “Our banana business is stronger than ever, our tropicals program has also continued to grow exponentially. We are happy to see customers come from farther distances to seek out our banana and tropicals programs.”

As with past years, every year M. Levin and Co. continually add items to sell to its already expansive line that its customers are looking for.

“We are truly a full-line house,” Levin said. “Some people only know M. Levin as the banana people, but we’re much more than that these days. We have a new generation at the helm of our company, ready to grow in every way possible. We’re looking forward to seeing what the new generation will bring to the table.”

The company is projecting growth in both its tropical and vegetable divisions this year and is looking forward to seeing its shippers and friends in the industry again at in-person events and visiting at the market.

“We truly have missed these face-to-face interactions,” Levin said. “Our customers range in size from big box stores, large retailers, independent chains, wholesalers, foodservice organizations, mom and pop stores, corner bodegas, neighborhood food-coops, down to the individual looking to buy a case of avocados for a Cinco de Mayo party, and everyone in between. We don’t discriminate — everyone is welcome here.”

The secret to strong partnerships through the years is mutual trust.

“We believe the relationships we have with both our customers and suppliers are key to our longevity,” Levin said. “We have worked with many of our suppliers for decades, and this is because we trust them to send us quality produce — and they trust us to do the best we can to sell their product for them.”

Around the company, Levin said a notable achievement was made by Tracie Levin, controller for and a fourth-generation family member, who was recently elected as the first woman in Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market history to serve on the market’s board of directors.

“Women in the produce industry are becoming much more common and Tracie is another example of a woman helping to make this industry a better place,” Levin said. “We are glad she is a part of our team and we look forward to seeing what she and the others in her generation will do to take us into our next chapter.”

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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