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Growth continues for Southern Specialties

Working from its Pompano Beach, FL headquarters for a tad under three decades, Southern Specialties has seen first-hand the value of operating in the state of Florida and being a trusted grower and hub for imported specialty fruits and vegetables from South America, Central America, Mexico and the U.S. and Canada.

“We’re having a good year. Fortunately, we skated any major hurricanes on the domestic side and though we’re always at the whim of Mother Nature, we look forward to a productive holiday season and a good year,” said Charlie Eagle, vice president of business development. “We’ve made a lot of investment in the company over the year and we’ll continue to make them in order to be a top provider bringing value to our customer base into the future.”

Unknown-copy Throughout 2019, Southern Specialties was amid continued expansion of its facility, something it is working feverishly on to ensure it’s a top-notch facility, adding 50,000 feet of warehouse space.

“For more than 29 years we’ve been in our current location, and during that time we’ve undergone several expansions,” Eagle said. “With this expansion we’ll have enhanced storage, processing, controlled ripening and additional delivery available to us.”

The fall season was busy for Southern Specialties, as the company’s South American, Central American and Mexican deals ramped up, and as usual, there was a strong demand for the holiday season.

“We have a diversified product line that includes bulk items for wholesale and foodservice, as well as our Southern Selects’ line of value-added specialties,” Eagle said. “Our company continues to grow and our vision is always years in advance. We want an opportunity to meet our goals.”

Those include being able to grow into its new space, to service customers better by affording them opportunities for storage, warehousing, crossdocking and providing additional doors to speed up the delivery process, and to offer additional coolers for optimal storage for all products it grows and distributes.

“We also wanted an office environment to help attract the best personnel, and afford them an opportunity to work in a comfortable, professional environment,” Eagle said.

This year at PMA Fresh Summit, the company introduced some new products, and they included Southern Selects Trimmed Green Beans, Petite and Sweet Mini-Peppers, and Sweet Baby Broccoli. Additionally, it showcased some new packaging that will be seen in 2020.

“These are all additions to our French beans, white asparagus, green asparagus and other specialties,” Eagle said. “We also introduced retail packs of some processed products that included butternut squash and sweet potatoes.”

Once the holidays are over, things slow down a bit for the company as people aren’t entertaining as much and so the company regroups and sets its strategy for the year ahead.

“It picks up again rather quickly and at the end of the day, you just want to be able to accommodate more customers than the year before,” Eagle said. “You’re always looking for year-over year growth and we’re used to seeing the ebb and flow of this business, but our hopes are that the flow is always a little bit higher.”

A key to being so successful is having an employee base that Eagle described as having “deep experience and good knowledge of the products we bring to market.”

Southern Specialties continues its support of the Produce for Better Health Foundation, whose mission is to achieve increased daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. The company has received numerous accolades from PBH in past years, and Eagle said he is happy that the company continues doing all it can to help.

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