A Matter Of Trust
At some point, the advantages of knowledge, flexibility and communication are all encapsulated in trust. “Customers come to trust the Hunts Point merchants to know best and do the best for them,” says Ira Nathel at Nathel & Nathel. “Especially for customers who don’t come in; we are their eyes.”
Relationships are critical, concurs Scott Zimmerman from 3 Guys from Brooklyn. “I’ve been doing business there my whole life and my father did before that,” he says. “Our relationships go back generations. We feel comfortable working with people we’ve been working with our whole life.”
Margiotta’s Jim Margiotta notes shippers and customers want to feel trust. “And they want a good experience time and time again because it’s how they build trust with their customer,” he says. “Everything we do incorporates the trust issue, so our buyers can trust they’ve come to the right place, to get the right quality at the right price.”
Again, this value was greatly accentuated in the beginning of the crisis. “During the crisis, we saw a shift to more customers ordering over the phone as opposed to coming to the market in person,” says Stefanie Katzman of S. Katzman.
Any change or disruption in normal business procedures leads to greater communication because of the uncertainty, explains Thomas Tramutola Jr., of A&J Produce. “We saw a lot more phone calls, emails and cross-referencing among divisions,” he says.
Jason Ferreira of Ferreira Foodtown highlights his level of trust in the small chain’s Hunts Point suppliers. “We relied more on the Hunts Point Market than on other large warehouses,” he says. “We won’t forget it.”
For Rubin Bros. as a whole, the company has looked at these past few months as a good benchmark test to how resilient the company is. “It’s proven we’re set up well,” says Cary Rubin. “It’s allowed us to see we’re in a good position to deal with anything that gets thrown at us. You can make contingency plans all you want, but until something happens, you really don’t get a good feeling for how your company is set up.”
Merchants on Hunts Point emphasize that retailers of all levels and sizes can count on the trust built with the family businesses on the market.
“We are very proud of all of our employees’ hard work and dedication,” says Michael Armata of E. Armata. “It’s an honor to be able to work with people who take such pride in their work.”
Katzman believes the biggest highlight is how everyone was able to ban together and get the job done. “Throughout all of it, we did not miss one second of operations,” she says. “Farmers, truckers, customers and our amazing staff worked together and made sure the food supply kept coming. The Hunts Point Produce Market will always make sure to take care of its community and the surrounding areas with fresh fruits and vegetables no matter what.”