In 2019, Pexco Produce Sales quietly celebrated its 50th anniversary. The long-time grower, shipper and consolidator of domestic and international produce, working on the Edward L. Myrick State Farmers Market in Pompano Beach, FL, has survived so long due to a combination of strong customer service and a strong work ethic.
The company sells a wide selection of Southern vegetables, including green beans, squash, eggplant, okra and cucumbers. It also offers a value-added program with bagged cucumbers, squash and corn.
“We’re doing a lot of value-added items here, including a lot of private label stuff — squash bags, tray pack okra, bag okra, bag pepper, all for retail application,” said J.T. Guida, chief operating officer of the company. “We’ve really been pushing in that direction and put a lot of investment in that, and it seems to be doing really well for us at the moment.”
The company’s tray-pack corn has taken off recently and become one of its best sellers.
“We are doing a lot of that for retail, foodservice and export and applications,” Guida said. “We’re doing a 12 four-count corn and then a nine six-count club pack or promotional item. Some of the grocery stores like to offer that bigger package. A lot of the retail business is going into packaged produce and that seems like a trend that’s continuing to grow.”
Pexco Produce has also invested heavily in cabbage, and being that it’s St. Patrick’s Day season, that means a busy time.
“We have a lot of grower support here in the Plant City area, and all the eastern dry veg items — peppers, hot peppers, cucumbers, squash and eggplant — are all big items for us,” said Michael Yates, sales manager for the company. “We consolidate almost everything grown in the state of Florida here in Plant City.”
Although he admits the last several years in the produce industry have been tough, as stores are changing the way they buy, Yates noted the company still had a strong 2019 because it was willing to change with the times.
“We’ve made a lot of changes here, and things are looking up for us,” he said. “If a customer is looking for radishes, it’s not something we really stock, but we will bring them up here and consolidate them so the customer is happy.”
Pexco Produce specializes in a lot of mixture loads, allowing customers to load as many as 15-20 different items in one trip.
“That’s a great advantage for us because our customers don’t have to run their truck all over the state; they can come here and load everything in one shot,” Yates said.
Other than some heavy spring rains at times, weather doesn’t normally impact the growing region in Pompano as there are very few days of cold temperatures in the winter time, with minimal threats of freeze.
That’s one of the reasons why things are doing well for the company in Pompano.
“We’ve also expanded a little bit and taken on a lot more growers,” Yates said. “We’re really picking up a lot of our own products now. We have our own fleet of trucks to deliver in-state and that’s helped us a lot as well.”