Each year in October, we set aside one page of PRODUCE BUSINESS to give a report to our most important constituency, to you, our readers, as to the state of PRODUCE BUSINESS. And to take a few words to say thank you for sustaining this noble endeavor, this publication, through the years.
PRODUCE BUSINESS was launched at the PMA convention in 1985. So with this issue, we mark our 9th birthday. PRODUCE BUSINESS is the industry’s first magazine and, to this day, PRODUCE BUSINESS remains unique in the breadth of its ambition and depth of quality execution.
No other publication addresses the entire industry with the kind of analytical and reflective approach that our times demand. In an age when the time is scarce, PRODUCE BUSINESS becomes an essential part of an industry member’s schedule, as we select issues and controversies which the industry must face and be prepared to deal with.
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.
Just in the issue at hand, we cover a broad range of topics, from 5 A Day to organic produce. A few special features are added, such as a report on the Atlanta retail scene and our Sixth Annual Marketing Excellence Awards. Plus we have our regular reviews of retail stores, foodservice operations, new products and much more. All together these things are what PRODUCE BUSINESS is about.
But, of course, without your attention, we are no more than paper and ink. That’s why we so enjoy the letters to the editor as you see in this issue and the responses to our PRODUCE BUSINESS Quiz. And the countless phone calls and fax messages we get every week. When you like what we’ve done, of course, we’re thrilled, but when you are dissatisfied, we take it as a chance to do things better. With a new issue out every month, the opportunity for self-improvement is one we seize with vigor.
I want you to know that we never, for even one moment, forget the debt we owe to the readers of PRODUCE BUSINESS. Through good times and bad, it is the willingness of countless tens of thousands of industry members to give us some of their time that has enabled us to keep building and keep serving this trade.
Our advertisers too are involved in a noble work in helping sustain this venture. In giving us sustenance they not only gain business for themselves, but they assist us in our mission of service to the trade and for that, they deserve industry support.
Our associates here at PRODUCE BUSINESS merit a special acknowledgment. I was born into the produce industry, raised on its myths and its mores. My desire to work with it and elevate it has roots that go deep, but all of the people at PRODUCE BUSINESS have seized on this project as if it was their very own. No publication exists without an army behind it, and ours takes no prisoners when it comes to producing something of value for the trade.
A special word of thanks goes to my assistant, Fran Gruskin, who believes in this magazine as I do, to our production director, Diana Levine, who has banned the installation of clocks in the production department, to Eric Nieman, who long ago toiled for PRODUCE BUSINESS and after a sojourn at Supermarket News, is now back as our Associate Publisher.
And, as always, and yet never enough, this magazine and this trade should each tip a hat to Ken Whitacre, whose daily endeavors, tenacious spirit and brilliant facility with ideas, breathes life into every issue of this magazine.
Much is new this year at PRODUCE BUSINESS. In addition to our headquarters in Boca Raton, we’ve added a major facility on Madison Avenue in New York and satellite facilities in Los Angeles and the Chicago suburbs.
And the staff has grown apace. Just this year we’ve added several new positions. Mike Duff, formerly of Supermarket Business, has joined us in a new role as our Special Projects Editor. Mike Phelps and Brent Reuman, both formerly with Food Processing magazine, now function as our East and West Coast District Managers, respectively. Aline Gharakhanian has come on board as a design assistant.
And in the months to come, we have more to do, with a newly expanded headquarters in Boca Raton to handle the growth, additional research and editorial personnel in New York and in Boca, new ideas and new plans.
This magazine has grown by strictly paying attention to produce industry issues because that is where I came from. But now we are also in the publishing and advertising world, so we’re taking care of their interests as well. We’ve applied for a circulation audit with the Audit Bureau of Circulation, the oldest and largest audit bureau in the country. Our new Madison Avenue office also allows us easy outreach to America’s largest ad agencies.
And somehow it all seems to be working. In the third quarter of this year, for example, PRODUCE BUSINESS pages were up 36% over 1993, a record growth most publications, in-or-out of the produce industry, would simply die (or kill) for.
Every once in awhile I go up to the new office in New York City and I look down over the streets of New York and I feel a little bit of a homecoming. Before the market was moved to the Bronx, my father and my grandfather before him had their offices in Manhattan. I often look upon the bustle of the street below and think of the old Washington Market starting to hum. I imagine produce whirling by and vendors hawking their wares.
I see my grandfather getting ready to go to the auction and discussing the industry with his friends and customers. And though I know it is far away and long ago, it somehow seems very real to me. Perhaps it’s because the industry is still so close — even with computer modems, cellular phones, and fax machines. But in the whirl of computer discs and voice mail systems, there still is a certain core of products, people, and ideas that stay the same.
This magazine is an act of service and I hope you will allow us to serve you better by keeping in touch. If you are going to be at the PMA convention this year, please come and visit. Our booth is #1340, and on Tuesday, October 25th at 10:35 a.m. in the convention center, Ed McLaughlin, the esteemed Professor at Cornell’s famed School of Agriculture and Life Sciences and this author will jointly present a workshop on the facts and myths of produce procurement.
It is a most interesting and important topic and, of course, I would like very much to see some PRODUCE BUSINESS readers in the room. And, if you ever have a thought or a comment, I want to know about it. So call or write, mail or fax or if you are on one of the online services or have access to the Internet, contact me at either [email protected] or at [email protected].
Our pledge here is that no matter what we have to do to wow the ad agencies, our heart and soul is in the business of building a better produce industry. For your support of that effort, you have our most deeply felt thanks.