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Nickey Gregory touting its Family Fresh Foods at Southern Innovations

As the Nickey Gregory Co. prepares for the Southeast Produce Council’s Southern Innovations Organics & Foodservice Expo, the company’s strategy for the show will focus on its latest endeavor.

“We are really pushing and promoting our new fresh cut processing division, which is called Family Fresh Foods,” said Andrew Scott, director of marketing/business development for the Atlanta-based company. “We started the business in July of 2018 with baby steps on a small scale. Now we have really expanded and just passed our first Primus GFS audit, where we scored a 99.”

2018-NGC-Bldg.-N-aerial-viewAn aerial view of the Nickey Gregory wholesale division. This is one of three warehouses Nickey Gregory has on the Atlanta market.He explained the company was really new at all the steps and paperwork involved with an audit as the audit for a processor compared to what they were used to as a distributor is much more extensive. But the company did better than could have hoped.

Behind booth No. 303, a team from the company will highlight the new in-house processing business unit of the Nickey Gregory Co. Five team members from the company will be on hand promoting the line of processed fresh-cut items from this new subsidiary.

“We’ve had a booth every year at Southern Innovations and though it’s geared toward service and organics, a lot of our business is foodservice from the Nickey Gregory Co. selling to food service distributors, so we have a nice captive audience up there in Nashville,” Scott said. “There are a lot of buyers and decision makers walking that floor.”

On display at the booth will be an array of items that the company sells to foodservice customers.

Scott has been a member of SEPC since 2001 and he considers this show a homecoming of sorts, and one he looks forward to every year.

“You get to see a lot of friends in the business and fellow SEPC members who have been members for a long time as well,” he said. “It’s good to get together with everyone. It brings together a nice atmosphere that’s not like your typical sales call at a desk. You can see friends face-to-face. We bring buyers and decision makers together and we get some high-quality people on the floor.”

The hope always is the company might find a new customer or two and increase business, as companies see that the Nickey Gregory Co. is a regional processor.

“People like that ‘just-in-time’ delivery, where they can order in one day and we deliver the next,” Scott said. “With our distribution model, we can deliver to 10 states over night out of Atlanta. That makes this a good fit for us.”

One of the topics he expects to be on people’s minds at the show are issues with labor. Scott noted back-of-the-kitchen labor at foodservice and restaurants is becoming more and more a challenge.

“Back-of-the-house costs are increasing. It’s tough to find labor and the minimum wage is going up, which is going to affect the restaurant industry,” Scott said. “Food-safety and recalls is also something we expect people to be talking about.”

Logistics and transportation is also becoming a hot topic, and another thing he expects people to be talking about.

So far in 2019, business has been good for the Nickey Gregory Co.

“There have been some hot markets, like celery, and you’ve seen some different markets spiking up and down,” Scott said. “California had the wettest May on record, which hurt citrus and strawberries and those markets. But others are doing better than expected.”

With three warehouses on the Atlanta Market and one in Miami, Scott said the company has the space to grow and hints that expansion will be coming in Florida soon with a new warehouse in the plans.