It was 27 years ago, at the PMA convention in San Francisco, that we launched the inaugural edition of Produce Business. In that issue, we presented a special note in which we exercised a decent respect for those who make Produce Business possible — specifically, our readers, our advertisers, our employees and vendors — by expressing our thanks. With this page, we wish to reiterate that gratitude: Nothing we do would be possible without those reading this very issue.
We have achieved much in the year that has passed. For all this accomplishment, this has also been a year of enormous challenge. Not long after PMA and The New York Show last year, my father, Michael Prevor, was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. It is hard to express what a devastating blow it was to learn such a thing. But ever since I sat down to write my “Special Note” for the Produce Business launch issue 26 years ago, I have always tried to look to the future.
Though we launched Produce Business at the PMA Convention in San Francisco in 1985, it is not precisely correct to say that the magazine started 25 years ago. Things never start and finish so neatly; they are built on foundations that stretch back through time and generations; they gain inspiration from people and ideas the “founders” of things never knew.
This year I learned to appreciate, in a way I had not before, the caliber of people I'm privileged to work with. This issue is larger both in pages and in sales dollars than last year's. That is a formidable achievement in 2009. It speaks exceptionally well of the world-class team that has coalesced around bringing you the information and insights, the intellectual and informational tools, to do your job or run your business better.
Ever since our first issue, we've set aside one page each year to update you on our progress and to thank you for your readership. The year past has been a challenging one for the industry and the country, and we empathize with those - such as tomato and chili pepper farmers - who have been hurt. We also take some satisfaction that we have played a constructive role in helping our industry and our country make progress on some issues.
Great publications don't spring up over night. Trust must be earned and decades of work now pay off every day in the trust the trade places in our work. If part of that trust is due to content, it is just as much due to attitude.
October is the anniversary of Produce Business magazine, as we launched at the PMA convention in San Francisco in 1985. In that first October, and every one since, we've set aside one page to thank those who have made what we have become possible.This year, I would like to dedicate this page to my father, Michael Prevor, because I am indescribably happy that he is sitting now, in the house I grew up in, reading these words. It almost wasn't so.
There are miracles of many sorts in life, and if you are reading this article, then you are participating in one of a minor type. Hurricane Wilma hit our offices, headquartered in Boca Raton, FL, just as we were working on our PMA issue.
Today, with our soldiers all at risk in Iraq, Afghanistan and other flashpoints around the globe, surely, with the election upcoming, this is one of those times when we are obligated to do more than think of the ag bill or PACA funding.
Being in business I find the debate over the aftermath of the major combat in Iraq especially intriguing. Intriguing because it speaks to three very important issues in business: working with imperfect knowledge, patience and gratitude.
With travel, tourism, immigration or a modern missile, those oceans are no longer mighty buffers, and with the capacity of a single weapon of mass destruction being so great, the consequences of being wrong are... unthinkable. So we have no choice but to look at the world a different way and consider a different approach... to understand that facing hard truths is better done sooner than later.
How do we answer the outrages of September 11, 2001? I have neither cruise missiles to lob, nor any Special Operations troops to deploy. But I do have an answer. On October 19, 2001 at 2:37pm, my wife, Debbie, gave birth to our son, William Ian Prevor.
Fifteen years ago, Ken Whitacre and I visited San Francisco. PMA was having its convention there and we were launching into the world something that had never existed before: PRODUCE BUSINESS magazine. And PRODUCE BUSINESS now is long established as a special kind of industry tool, one that goes beyond information to provide genuine insight into our business and the forces that affect it.
Normally PRODUCE BUSINESS is, of course, all business. Marketing, merchandising, management and procurement are what we are about and we deal with these issues in every edition. But a trade is more than some abstract thing called business - a trade is composed of people. And if PRODUCE BUSINESS is directed at the business side of life, surely understanding the reality of business is informed by and understanding of the pressures and promise of each industry participant's private life.
On a level far beyond what commercial prudence would have necessitated, we always have cared, deeply, about the way that industry perceived itself and the way others perceive those who toil in the trade. The redesign of PRODUCE BUSINESS is a symbolic gesture, a way of reaffirming to you our commitment to be cutting-edge, reconfirming our commitment to make a difference and reconfirming our commitment to contribute to this industry.
In October 1985, PRODUCE BUSINESS magazine was launched at PMA convention in San Francisco. So, with this issue we celebrate an anniversary, a birthday, a milestone, and we do it in grand style. From a business perspective, the issue you hold in your hands is supported by more advertisers, investing more dollars, than any issue to date. From an editorial perspective, this issue is the most information-dense offering in the produce trade - where we write every word on every page, exclusively for you.
This is a business magazine and so its pages are a record of an ongoing saga of a thousand unheralded battles, by a thousand unheralded produce firms, for market share, for business success, for survival. It makes sense for me to reflect on how PRODUCE BUSINESS has accomplished what we have. For surely, in this success, there must be lessons for other businesses.
The dream of PRODUCE BUSINESS was not merely to serve the trade but to elevate it. To create something to help people make better business decisions, yes, but, even more, to create something that would make children prouder of their fathers who toiled in this trade. Our special place has always been tomorrow, and so, on this birthday, our inclination is not so much to remember the past but to envision the future.
The issue you are reading at this moment is an example of the PRODUCE BUSINESS concept, to help the produce industry advance by helping readers do their jobs or run their businesses better by effectively handling procurement, marketing, merchandising and management issues.
Every month we reject loads of great articles that we don't have room to run. So I think of every page of PRODUCE BUSINESS as a precious jewel, certainly never to be wasted. But once a year, on our anniversary, I like to take one page and use it to do the one thing that, in all the hustle and bustle of our lives, we all should take time out to do more often: To say a simple thank you.
As with a child, I suppose seven is actually an enormously exciting age for a business to be. In the early years, you concentrate so much on survival that the options are relatively few. It is when you've had some success and have grown up a bit that difficult choices must be made. Do we search out new fields? Find new media to communicate in? Do we expand within produce? How can we best serve industry? Where do the opportunities lie? I suppose we are working out the answers to these questions every single day.
Our success has only been possible because we've been able to gather support from across the diversity of this industry. And we, in turn, have diversified to serve this trade in many different ways. As 1991 draws to a close, how thankful we are that PRODUCE BUSINESS is actually having its best year ever. Advertising, subscriptions, awards, influence in the trade, by any measure we've met and exceeded all expectations and built a voice that rings with authority in our field.
This issue is a milestone. PRODUCE BUSINESS was launched in October 1985 at the PMA convention in San Francisco. So now we celebrate our fifth anniversary. And we do it in grand style. For this issue culminates years of growth and development as PRODUCE BUSINESS has come to claim its place as an institution in the industry, serving a need for information previously unidentified and providing a marketing opportunity previously unavailable to suppliers to the trade.
No journey to success is traveled alone, and PRODUCE BUSINESS is in the debt of many. For a magazine, the reader is always the priority, and I can make only an inadequate attempt to thank you, our readers, for the time you spend with PRODUCE BUSINESS each month. Let me assure you that your participation in this enterprise is valued, and let me promise our eternal vigilance in creating a magazine worthy of your time.
Winning awards is great, everyone at PRODUCE BUSINESS works hard to put out the best, most useful magazine in our field, and it sure is nice to have an objective source give PRODUCE BUSINESS a pat on the back. But the real prize is you! That month after month, issue after issue, we keep you interested and reading and learning. That's the golden ring we all work for here at PRODUCE BUSINESS.
A magazine can never belong to one person or even two people. It is always the property of all those who read it and advertise in it, who write for it and produce it, who fund it and sell it, who print it and mail it. But especially, a magazine belongs to its readers, for they are the ones who truly give it life. They take the inanimate words off the paper and give those words life by utilizing them in their business and in their job and in their life.
Great institutions are not created by an act of will; they must grow organically by serving the needs of their community. With this, the premier issue of PRODUCE BUSINESS, we take the first step toward serving the needs of the produce industry, and thus building the links which will tie us ever closer to this community in which we now proudly take our place.