Paradise Produce Distributors Inc., based in Lakeland, FL, has been doing business for 27 years. “The intrigue and the fluctuations of the market and the personalities keep you coming back year after year,” said owner Joel Silverman.
Keeping aware of the variables around you is a key, he said. “There was a time 25 years ago when you could concentrate on what was going on in the state of Florida, but now you have to know what’s going on in Mexico, what’s going on overseas, and take a lot broader look at the arena we’re all playing in,” Silverman said. “One of the formulas for my success from the beginning is that any buyer in the world could call up and buy a straight load of peppers or cucumbers, so I positioned myself as one of the few people at that time that would do a mixer load.”
Paradise Produce sells around 75-80 different items. They can be purchased in any quantity, and the company provides transportation.
“That’s the niche I have carved out for myself. Just one phone call, and the buyer can receive as many commodities as he’s looking for on the particular truck, and get one invoice,” Silverman said. “We have streamlined the operation and made it as easy for our customers as we could.”
For the upcoming spring season, he has been impressed.
“I would say we’re heading for a bumper crop unless there’s a dramatic change. I expect adequate supplies of all products and based on what we’re seeing right now, I think everything is looking really, really good,” he said. “The buyers are really going to be surprised because they can buy down here confident of the great growing conditions.”