Supplier Spotlight: Fresh Valley Produce
We asked Frank Pulice for a facilities tour, but what we got was so much more…
I arrive on location to meet Frank Pulice, Owner-Operator of Fresh Valley Produce and send a quick text to let him know I’ve arrived. Frank pokes his head out of his office to introduce himself and his Operations partner Chris. He appears very busy, yet assures me he’ll run into us later. Turns out Fresh Valley is in the midst of a massive renovation including upgrades to their facilities both inside and out, which Frank is eager to show off.
We sneak by Ashley, their head of communications and marketing, turn a corner and before I know it launch into a facilities tour. A flurry of activity is always to be expected at a food supplier and distributor, but what I face as I round the corner is a full-swing operation underway! Aside from the usual number of pallet jacks moving product about, the last of a series of white panels lining the walls is being installed by a few members of his team.
“It’s going well but we’re delayed cuz these guys are delayed, these guys are almost a month behind...”
Frank explains that this is his newest cold storage room; a renovated and upgraded version of an existing store room and part of a quarter million dollar upgrade just days from completion. The addition of the white paneling will allow him to keep produce fresher for longer, and the extra space enables buying in larger quantities. He goes on to add that the entire room will feature rows of very tall racks, enabling him to utilize the space more efficiently. He’s ordered quite a number of these and is going to double or even triple the storage capacity for the entire warehouse. Sure enough, we run into Chris, busy discussing the panels with the team then onto another project. Despite offering frustration about construction delays, Frank ensures me the upgrades are scheduled to be completed by Friday, and seems instead excited about what prospects they will bring.
Across the hall are two smaller, pre-existing, non-refrigerated produce storerooms, soon to be racked as well. In between these is nestled another medium sized room which will become a miniature processing plant. He’s employed a team to cut and prepare squash, onions, fresh fruits and vegetables to customer’s exact specifications in addition to an industry ‘pre-cut standard’ beginning at end of March. Aside from these four total rooms is a large amount of open warehouse space which he plans to fill with more racks. We’ve now reached the loading bay and evident are 2 smaller and 2 much bigger loading docks. Frank tells me these four are his but he hopes to purchase the rest of the warehouse very soon. “Right now it’s being rented to a tomato sauce producer who supplies to all the PizzaPizza’s and other pizza chains as well.” “How many docks is this in total?” I ask. “Roughly 15, and all the additional storage rooms that come with them.” He’s reserved but clearly enthusiastic about his work.
In addition to all this, he introduced me to his busy team members scattered throughout the warehouse, some of whom will become a night crew starting next week. This dedicated team of 9 individuals will complete Fresh Valley’s round-the-clock service by fulfilling last minute orders and preparing trucks for early morning dispatch.
Before we left we sat down to discuss ChefHero:
Thank you for that amazing tour, you must be so excited to finally complete all your upgrades! How has your time been using the ChefHero platform?
We’ve been with you guys consistently for a few months now but it’s been going well!
Well for our purposes you’ve been great!
Yeah well, we’ve had a few hiccups here and there but we’re getting there. Today we just launched our new website at www.freshvalleyproduce.com.
That’s fantastic! Last thing, how has ChefHero helped benefit your business?
It definitely allows us to save time and money, and the customer service is a great aspect. We get a really quick response anytime there’s an issue and your team work well with Ashley who you met
Service has been good, Liam has been great and we’re happy!
Fresh Valley is a relatively new supplier, so while the financial benefits have not yet emerged, they’re incredibly happy with the service provided. The additional money and time saved by allowing ChefHero to handle customer service was a key factor in enabling the almost completed upgrades. In general, from Frank, I get an air of excitement and lightness. He strikes one as a guy who is constantly busy but likes it, and because of this, he’s excited at how these upgrades will allow him to broaden the partnership with ChefHero.
If you’re a supplier looking to partner with ChefHero, visit our supplier's page at https://www.chefhero.com/suppliers