Over the years I’ve had many occasions to write many words about many things. On different issues, at different times, I’ve written passionately about things I believed in, analytically on subjects that required dispassionate thought, but I feel certain I have never had the occasion to write as joyfully as I do with this column.
October is the anniversary of PRODUCE BUSINESS. The publication was launched in October of 1985 at the PMA convention in San Francisco, and ever since that time I’ve taken a page out each year, this page, to report to you, to all our readers, about the growth and achievement, the trials and tribulations of this magazine. But above all else, I’ve used this page to say thank you to our subscribers, advertisers, suppliers, employees and all who have made our achievements, indeed our very existence, possible.
And these achievements have been prodigious. Thanks to the support of this industry, starting from nothing but a bucketful of dreams, we’ve built a world-class publication for the produce industry. A magazine that any industry could be proud to call its own.
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.
But it’s not just PRODUCE BUSINESS anymore. FLORAL BUSINESS tripled its number of issues in 1991 over the previous year, and we launched the 1st annual Merchandising Manual. Our research division continued its vital trade research program and moved on to sponsor, along with The Fresh Approach, Focus On Produce, the leading program of produce-related consumer research. Our conference division joined with the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association, and in 1991 launched the Retail Institute, the nation’s only conference devoted solely to the continuing education of retail produce professionals.
And this is all just history. Wait till you see what we’ve got planned for 1992! I am exceedingly proud of this record of accomplishment and proud of the service we’ve been able to provide to this industry. And I never forget, even for one moment, that it is industry support of the PRODUCE BUSINESS concept that has made this all possible.
And one point I am dedicated to is to ensure that as this company grows, we maintain and improve the quality of our service to the trade. And that means people. I’m the one who gets my picture in the magazine but I certainly don’t do it all or even most of it. It’s a big team of people, terrific people, smart, intelligent, dedicated people, that make things happen and make me look good.
One key person who has been with this magazine since the day it started is Ken Whitacre, our Associate Publisher for the past six years. It is with genuine pleasure that I can tell you that Ken has agreed to accept the position of Publisher of PRODUCE BUSINESS magazine.
Not much is likely to change. We never placed too much weight on titles here and, truth be told, Ken has been doing the job of Publisher for several years.
Oh and, by the way, the produce industry isn’t getting rid of me that fast either. I’ll maintain my positions as Editor-in-Chief of the magazine and President of the company.
Ken is an exceptional man. I’ve known him for over a decade and we’ve grown to be close friends. A sharp Cornellian with a heart of gold, Ken’s appointment as Publisher will give our company the managerial depth we need to continue to grow and serve this trade that has served PRODUCE BUSINESS so well.
For those readers who will be at the PMA convention, I hope you’ll attend the Tuesday general session where I’ll be giving an update on the latest consumer research data, and certainly, I hope you will take a moment to stop by our booth. We have an interesting project going on and I think you’ll want to take part in it.
Once again, thanks for your support. With your continued help, 1992 looks like a real winner. For PRODUCE BUSINESS and the produce industry, together.