Since 2011, Mr. Greens has grown from six employees in a 3,000-square-foot facility to more than 270 employees across three facilities representing 125,000 square feet. The company distributes fresh produce throughout Miami, FL and the surrounding region.
Earlier this year, the company acquired Cawoods Produce Inc., a distributor of produce, dairy, and specialty goods serving the Austin and San Antonio markets. This marked Mr. Greens’ first acquisition outside the state of Florida and highlights its rapid growth strategy to expand across the United States.
“We’ve always been unique in our level of service,” said Nick Politis, chief executive officer of Mr. Greens. “We buy from the same farms a lot of bigger players buy from, so we can’t say we have a monopoly on the quality, but from a service standpoint, many are not in our league. We take care of the client and never make excuses. Our customers are our biggest advocates.”
That has helped Mr. Greens become a leading distributor for foodservice throughout Florida.
However, the coronavirus pandemic has not surprisingly taken its toll on the company.
“It’s effected everyone, and we’ve been down with foodservice, hotels and restaurants all closed,” Politis said. “We do have some retail and ramped that up a little bit, but our current location didn’t even warrant us doing a lot there because of sizing issues.”
The good news is that Mr. Greens is close to opening a new facility in Miami, with plans to move in sometime in late September. That facility, a little north from where it currently operates, will be almost three times the size of where it is now.
“That will allow us to move more aggressively into retail,” Politis said. “We did hire some retail buyers and retail salespeople, so we are starting to see some movement there. But once we move into the new facility we will be able to do so much more with organics and other items that we can’t really stock in our current space.”
It’s also close to closing on a new warehouse facility in Jacksonville, FL, which will help expansion in Northern Florida.
Over the last few months, the company has learned how to work with less and focus on other areas to diversify outside of food service.
“That was always our bread and butter, so it’s really forced us to look at things differently, but we were planning to do that anyway,” Politis said. “But with COVID-19 happening in March, we weren’t able to make the move as quickly as we had hoped so we couldn’t have the retail presence to weather it better than we did.”
Politis knows it’s not easy to turn things around that quickly, but the company’s employees are making their best efforts to keep things running smooth.
“We didn’t do any mass layoffs, and for the most part, our team is intact,” he said. “We did the right thing with our shippers. We didn’t ask for extensions on our terms or delay any payments. I know a lot of them are highly appreciative of that, and that only strengthens our relationships with vendors because very few companies are doing that right now.”
Looking ahead to the later part of 2020, Politis is very confident that once the “light at the end of the tunnel” comes from a vaccine or when restaurants start to reopen, he feels the company is in a strong position to pick up market share and really grow and recover sooner than other firms out there.
“At the end of the day, we will get back to normal, whatever that looks like at that point, and we will be in an excellent position, whether it’s in retail, foodservice or another area, and we will be a dominant player,” Politis said.