Peirone Produce’s distribution center helps make it one of the best distributors of fresh produce in the Inland Northwest.
For 70 years, the name of Peirone has been synonymous with high-quality fresh produce in the Inland Northwest, and Peirone Produce continues to serve its supermarket customers with the best produce available as well as the best industry practices anywhere in the industry. President and CEO Mike Kamphaus says one of the primary reasons for the company’s longevity and success has been its concentration on the supermarket industry, rather than splitting its attention between that customer base and other types of customers like foodservice or institutions. That gives Peirone Produce a clearer understanding of how it can best serve its customers and gear its processes to supermarkets’ specific needs.
“One of the unique things about Peirone is we’re almost singularly focused on one segment or channel of the business, and that’s supermarkets,” Kamphaus says. “Clearly we have good competition in the marketplace. However, their model is different from ours in that they’re serving many different channels of the industry, from schools to fast food to prisons.”
The focus and dedication Peirone Produce shows to the supermarket segment of the marketplace is one of the company’s biggest strengths, but it is far from the only advantage it brings to the table. According to Kamphaus, Peirone Produce’s distribution center, technology and co-op ownership all contribute to making the Spokane, Wash.-based company the best in the Inland Northwest. As long as the company continues to focus on what has made it successful for the last seven decades, Kamphaus adds, the future looks bright for Peirone Produce.
Center of It All
Serving supermarkets means produce needs to be fresh because customers see it out there on the shelves every day, and that also means a distributor that serves that segment of the market has to be able to provide fruits and vegetables that have been stored properly and turned around quickly. To that end, Peirone Produce has invested millions into its distribution center, which Kamphaus says puts the company head and shoulders above any other produce distributor in the region. “We have the finest distribution center in the Inland Northwest,” he says.
The 77,000-square-foot facility was built from the ground up specifically to serve the supermarket segment, giving Peirone Produce another distinct advantage over other distributors. Kamphaus says the company’s facility has nine different temperature zones to ensure that virtually any kind of fruit or vegetable has the precise type of environment it needs to stay fresh during distribution. “It truly is the perfect environment,” Kamphaus says.
Combined with the company’s size and footprint in the area, Peirone Produce’s distribution center makes it possible for the company to completely turn over its inventory more than 70 times a year.
Peirone Produce has undergone some substantial growth over the last few years, and Kamphaus says the company has put a lot of effort into making sure the company isn’t a victim of its own success. “One of our biggest challenges is managing the tremendous growth we’re going through,” he says. “The worst thing we could do is bring on new business and not meet their expectations.”
Recently, the company upgraded its warehouse management software to ensure it not only does a better job for its existing customers but also prepare itself for the growth still to come. Kamphaus says the company also has been hard at work ensuring that it keeps up with the latest requirements from the Food Safety Modernization Act. With those pieces in place alongside the company’s existing advantages, Kamphaus says Peirone Produce looks to be in good shape for another 70 years of success in the Inland Northwest. As the company continues to identify and chase new markets and trends such as locally sourced and organic produce, Peirone Produce is ready to keep growing.