Edge Sales and Marketing President Brad Raffanti Talks 15th Anniversary
PLEASANTON, CA - If it is status quo, then it isn’t for Edge Sales and Marketing. That is what Founder and President Brad Raffanti tells me as we discuss the evolution of the company in California and beyond. This standard and ideal is only one of the many tenets of a business built on foresight, an innovative approach to sales and marketing, and a tenacious drive for superior results.
As we step into spring and kick off the 2017 trade show season, Edge Sales is celebrating its 15th anniversary as a successful and pioneering broker in the fresh produce industry.
“Our goal, now and always, has been to add significant value to our clients and customers and to ensure everyone involved achieves superior results for our combined businesses,” Brad shares, adding that Edge Sales has done this by offering services that enhance their business, such as Business Management, Retail Merchandising, Analytics, Claims Management and Administrative support–focused exclusively in the produce arena. “We are committed to continually investing in our people and adding any other resources necessary to ensure success for everyone involved.”
Edge Sales has remained at the top of the produce game, not only because of the team’s drive, resourcefulness, and insight, but also because they see themselves as an extension of their client’s strategy, sales, analytical, and administrative teams.
“We also work very hard to be integrated with our retailers and distributors and assist them in any way possible to drive the business,” Executive Vice President, Liz Bunch, tells me, noting that it is imperative that the company services all of its clients and customers with professionalism, dedication, and focus–no matter their size. “It is an on-going process of planning, investment, and change. We are extremely proud of our achievements and how we are positioned in the Northern California Market, as well as the Pacific Northwest.”
Looking back on 15 years of growth, I ask the team what some of those key milestones were that allowed the company to evolve. And it all seems to come back to Edge Sales’ ability to adapt, diversify, and build a culture of passion and value for each individual.
“We have continued to grow and prosper despite a constantly changing environment. Through the years, there have been many changes, whether it has been due to client, manufacturer, or retailer acquisitions, or employees moving to new or different opportunities both internally and externally,” Brad says. “Certainly retailer consolidation has been significant. None has been more impactful on our business than the Albertsons/Safeway acquisition. We feel our attributes of being privately owned, with a tremendous leadership team that continually evaluates our business for our present and future planning, has allowed us to be nimble and make the quick and necessary changes to stay ahead of the curve and our competition.”
And, amazingly enough, all without debt. Brad feels that too many companies fail or can’t achieve optimum growth because they are strapped with debt and can’t make sound investment decisions because of it. Edge Sales is positioned to be ready for any changes and opportunities that may arise at present or in the future.
“A good case in point is post-Safeway centralization,” Liz shares with me. “A significant piece of our business went away. The options were to shrink our company or create other opportunities. We chose the latter.”
Edge Sales hired Jeff Knight, previously Category Director for Safeway, to lead an expansion of its business into the Pacific Northwest, resourcing some of the backstage needs through the company’s Pleasanton team.
“It allowed us to retain our talented current employees and add even more in both markets. This move has proven to be incredibly successful. We now not only have a strong foothold in the Pacific Northwest but also have a totally integrated company that follows all customers in a cohesive and structured model in all markets we serve,” Liz adds. “All of our customers are managed and serviced at the highest level with the same goal of maximizing results. Our employees are passionate, tremendously talented and our company continues to grow and thrive.”
So what is next for Edge Sales as we look to the rest of 2017 and beyond?
Edge Sales’ leadership team continually discusses opportunities for all areas of the business in servicing both their clients and customer partners.
“Ensuring we have talented employees and a sound strategy moving forward that will allow us to invest as needed, will enable us to grow,” Brad comments.
“We never rest on our laurels or feel we can’t get any better. Our main focus is always to first grow our business organically, never taking our eye off our current clients' needs for optimum success. Our clients are part of our family and we treat them as such,” Liz says, echoing the sentiment.
The Edge Sales team is always keeping their eyes wide open, searching for new clients, products, and customer opportunities. Brad shares that the key is to be in a position of strength when an opportunity comes to fruition.
With an actively engaged team, a completely redesigned website, and plans for other media avenues on the horizon, its looks as if this company is primed for another 15 years and beyond, of growth and success.