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New York’s Hunts Point

Making changes at the half-century mark
New York Spotlight_MS

“In addition to seasonal fluctuations, rates have been up a little bit, but not too much,” confirms Koster. “And we’re always able to find the trucks we need.”

Political Fallout
A sour note in the New York produce scene has been the closure of some Hispanic retail stores. Felipe Moreno, vice president for Moreno Produce NY Corp says business was tough for him this year following the U.S. presidential election.

“We saw political issues really affecting the community,” he says. “Sales went down a little, as did volumes. We were selling 50 fewer pallets of mangos compared to last year—a lot of business owners sold and went back to their home countries.”

Moreno believes owners in the community who hired Spanish-speaking employees felt nervous following the election and some opted to get out of the business. “At least two of my customers with three supermarkets each and some foodservice businesses shut down,” he points out. “Now those locations have been converted to computer supply and hardware stores.”

Trade relations
Other potential changes, such as reworking the North American Free Trade Act or NAFTA, could have a greater impact, especially on Mexican inbound commodities such as tomatoes, cilantro, peppers, papayas, and mangos.

“Retooling NAFTA would affect many areas in the produce industry,” remarks Margiotta. “We do a tremendous amount of business with and value our relationships with Canada and Mexico.

“You can’t just cut out Mexico,” Margiotta continues, adding, “that’s where we get most of our winter produce. But, there are always a lot of things said during campaigns, and then there’s the reality of what actually happens.”

Big Apple Wrap Up
Since 1967, Hunts Point has been providing produce to the Big Apple and beyond, and from this perspective, not much has changed.

Commodities come and go, perhaps even more so today with the influence of social media and lightning-quick changes in consumer demand for quality and convenience.

But the market’s current growing pains—blending politics, merchant consolidation, and construction—are a testament to its strength and longevity. Staying on top of these and other industry trends are the true elements of success.

For most, despite a few new and recurring obstacles, 2017 has proven to be a good year—as business investment and sales have continued to climb for many wholesalers.

Image: Alessandro Colle/


Chris O’Brien is a writer and researcher based in Boulder, CO. He specializes in business trends with a focus on sustainable industries.