Oct 24, 2011Philadelphia welcomes new produce market
The Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market (PWPM) opened the doors of a new state-of-the-art facility April 3.
The original market had been around since 1959 and was, at the time, one of the premier markets for wholesale fruit and vegetable sales, according to PWPM.
“After ten years of planning, building and overseeing the completion of this one-of-a-kind facility, we were excited to celebrate with the community as we officially opened our doors for business,” said Sonny DiCrecchio, PWPM’s president and CEO.
PWPM is made up of shareholders that operate within the market, but are separate businesses. Stockholders own 26 companies that occupy 67 separate units within the market. Each unit has its own refrigerated warehouse that, in most cases, is subdivided into sections to gain optimum temperatures for specific produce, said Tad Thompson, business development manager.
The cooling systems are a key part of the market. PWPM has consistent cold-chain management efficiencies, ensuring products are properly stored and maintained from supplier to loading dock. The new facility can maintain the cold chain more effectively, supplying PWPM customers with fresher produce that has longer shelf life. The ambient temperature of the concourse, sales areas and loading docks, which surround the market, is always 50˚ F to preserve the freshness, quality and safety of product displays and load assembly. There are 224 loading doors surrounding the market perimeter that are air-sealed to assure cold-chain maintenance, Thompson said.
M. Levin and Co., one of the shareholder companies that started in Philadelphia in 1906, invested $1 million beyond normal expenses to build banana-ripening rooms within its market warehousing space – to supplement facilities it operated long before moving to the new market June 5.
The new PWPM building is constructed with energy-efficient materials that not only aid the cooling system but are conducive to creating a healthy environment, Thompson said.
PWPM customers can freely walk around in the enclosed structure and are sheltered from outdoor elements. The central concourse of the market is made safe by traffic patterns for forklift drivers, customers pushing handcarts and steel-barrier protected walks for pedestrians. Other services for customers include custom repacking of produce, on-site ripening services, truckload service, LTL transportation service, forward distribution and daily delivery to customers in the area, Thompson said.
They also provide Wi-Fi for customers and merchants so they can access the Internet.
The new PWPM facility is one-quarter of a mile long, or “50 feet longer than the Empire State Building is tall,” Thompson said.
“There are 550,000 square feet on the ground level of the building. Including office space on the second floor, the entire market totals 700,000 square feet.”
The new market will also bring thousands of jobs to the area, which is an encouraging sign for economic development, Thompson said.
For more information, visit the market’s website.