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General Produce finds success in partnerships with grower-shippers

General Produce LLC, a Castellini Co.-owned distributor doing business on the grounds of the Atlanta State Farmers Market in Forest Park, GA, occupies four large warehouses and services retail, foodservice and wholesale customers throughout 11 Southeastern states.

“Our customers are located in the Southeast from Louisiana to Tennessee to the Carolinas and Florida,” said Mark Daniels, director of business development for General Produce. “Atlanta is just about as centrally located as you can get to all those areas. Being in Atlanta is effective for us in being able to service those regions for next day delivery.”

Conley-General-Castellini The company owes some of its success to the vibrant and diverse city, which has been a catalyst for both the market and the increasing Atlanta produce industry overall.

“There are so many different cultures that are demanding of certain produce from their heritage,” Daniels said. “I have had the pleasure to enjoy many of this in restaurants around Atlanta, ‘The International City.’”

General Produce has been around since 1960 and the secret to success, Daniels said, is to adapt and be fluid.

“We at General Produce take to heart what our customers ask for, so much so that we have added a bagging line to go along with our repack division,” he said. “Customers have voiced they want certain packages and specs on several SKUs with the luxury of ordering today for tomorrow. If we make our customers successful we will be successful.”

As 2018 comes to a close, the company is staying busy providing the best quality and service level on order fills.

“Holiday time is very busy and very fast paced,” Daniels said. “We are focused on customer service. We think about how we can come together as business partners and help grow and help one another.”

This year, General Produce partnered with a few grower-shippers on providing storage, packaging production and logistics, which has been successful and worked very well for both parties.

“This process has helped streamline product to a central point where it is graded and packed and shipped to several regions,” Daniels said.

Looking ahead, the company plans to continue with initiatives that are designed to keep the customer in mind.

“We will continue to focus on being a one-source solution, from complete logistic solutions to banana ripening, tomato ripening and repacking, retail merchandising and category management, fresh cut processing, private label packaging and transportation opportunities,” Daniels said.

Another big part of General Produce’s success is its talented team of employees, many who have been with the company for years.

“We are so fortunate to have such a great group of passionate folks dedicated to making every day a win,” Daniels said.

“This vision and drive comes from great leadership who set the example for us every day. Our Senior Vice President Scott Owens steers, directs, motivates, encourages and is hands on from the receiver/order selector to guiding our senior staff.”