FreshSource's Mike Casazza and Scot Olson Discuss New Additions and Expansions
SANTA ANA, CA - Produce category capabilities are spreading, and with it so is FreshSource. When I sit with Mike Casazza, President - South/Southwest Divisions, and Scot Olson, President - North/Northwest Division, to discuss the latest the company has been doing to expand its efforts to be a seamless partner to retailers, growers, and shippers alike, plot-points of sales and merchandising bloom across my mental map.
“Demand fuels our growth. We opened a new division in Denver, Colorado, doubled our data capabilities, and streamlined our merchandising teams’ platforms to increase productivity for both the retailers and principals, and, from a commodity standpoint, we have even expanded our categories,” Mike begins, diving deep into how FreshSource continues to differentiate itself.
Among the new additions are citrus, bananas, and apples, while both Mike and Scot note having also seen a lot of growth in value-added, with new and innovative plant-based products.
“The value-added space continues to grow, and that has been the core of areas of support in years past. We now have commodity grower/shippers needing our support, as it has become a recognized value to them while discussing an up-and-coming season,” Scot shares. “A grower that approaches a retailer with not just a commodity to sell, but a full sales and merchandising support plan, has an advantage.”
That is where FreshSource comes in. To bolster this advantage, the company is honing in on merchandising support like it never has before.
“Merchandising support is not a new strategy for FreshSource, but our Founder, Robert Thompson, has doubled-down on this resource as he recognizes the added benefit to all we serve and represent,” Scot points out. “On behalf of the great brands we represent and from added labor needs in the stores, FreshSource has increased the merchandising field team by 70 percent in some divisions we operate.”
As the team has increased its field merchandising team, it has ensured training and experience in its expansion by adding former produce managers. Because knowledge, of course, is another advantage, which the team says is more than evident in the other strategic area Robert Thompson has initiated in addition to merchandising support: data.
“Retailers are looking for and welcoming our data and merchandising expertise to streamline operations and drive incremental sales,” Mike shares, explaining that FreshSource has expanded its capabilities with regards to commodities in addition to what categories it can offer.
In its efforts to continue bridging the supply- and buy-side through sales and merchandising, these aspects, both men share, have been key strategic areas that Robert Thompson and his team continues to invest in to better serve retail partners.
“Mike Casazza said it best: Demand has fueled our growth,” Scot concludes.
Leading me to believe there is much more map to appear before us as this company continues to add to its reach and resourcefulness.