by Christina DiMartino | February 27, 2014
Vision Import Group LLC, headquartered in River Edge, NJ, opened its Lakeland, FL, office in August 2013.
The company hired Bruce Letchworth to oversee sales. A long-time retail professional, Letchworth was previously with Supervalu and prior to that with Publix Super Markets and Save-a-lot, making him a perfect candidate to work with retail sales customers in the Southeast. He is joined in sales at the Southeast branch of Vision by Lindsay Love, who also previously worked for Supervalu. Love also assists in administrative tasks at the office.
In an August press release, Ronnie Cohen, vice president of sales for the company, said, “Bruce and Lindsay are well-known and respected in the industry, and we are very happy to have them on board with Vision Import Group.”
He added that a Florida office will be a significant addition to its import business.
One of the first things on Letchworth’s agenda was to join the Southeast Produce Council, knowing the benefits that the organization can offer Vision Import Group.
Vision Import Group’s newly designed ‘Havana’ lime box.
“We became a member almost immediately when we opened this office,” Letchworth toldThe Produce News in late January. “And this will be our first time exhibiting at the Southern Exposure conference and expo. We are now six months into our Florida operation, and we’re expanding quickly. At the same time, we are working to become more involved in Southeastern opportunities, such as the Southeast Produce Council.
“Coming from the retail side, I know the great benefits that this event offers,” he continued. “Decision makers attend, and they can walk the entire show spending time and talking with everyone,” he continued. “For Vision Import Group, these are the people we want to see.”
The company will be exhibiting at booth number 420 at the Southern Exposure event.
Besides Letchworth and Love, the company will be represented there by Senior Director of Sales and Marketing Donald Souther, Executive Vice President Raul Millan, and Sales Manager of the New Jersey Office George Uribe.
Vision Import Group specializes in limes, mangos, pineapples, clementines and lemons, and many of its products carry unique and clever labels, such as “Van Gogh” mangos, “Mojito” and “Havana” limes and “Mr. Squeeze” lemons, all of which it will present at the Southern Exposure event.
“We have new graphics on our ‘Mojito’ and ‘Havana’ lime boxes that we’ll be featuring at the show,” said Letchworth. “Graphics on the ‘Mojito’ box show how the limes just burst with juicy flavor, and the ‘Havana’ box is an upbeat graphic that depicts classic old-time Havana. Both boxes are livelier than the previous boxes.
The company is shipping mangoes from Peru and will have some small mango programs from Costa Rica and Guatemala coming on to bridge its year-round program until the Mexican season starts.
“We will start with small volumes of yellow Ataulfo mangos in early March from southern Mexico,” Letchworth said. “Then we work our way north and begin with red mangos from Mexico at the beginning of April. These will run through the middle of August. The ‘Van Gogh’ mangoes come primarily from Mexico. The ‘Mojito’ limes are into the winter months, which reflect the lower volumes and higher prices until around April when volumes are expected to increase.”
Most of the mangoes carrying the “Van Gogh” label come from Mexico. On the “Mojito” limes Vision Import was into the winter months with lower volumes and higher prices. Prices will go up around April when volumes start to increase.
Letchworth has already been asked to serve on the committee for the First Annual Southeast Produce Council Golf Charity Classic, which is scheduled for June 18-19, at the Chateau Elan Golf Club in the beautiful mountains of Braselton, GA, a short distance north of Atlanta.
“Proceeds from the event will benefit the Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital,” said Letchworth. “I’ve gotten several sponsorships already and will continue to work to raise money for this worthy cause. Everyone is invited to sign up for sponsorship.”
For more information, and to sign up for sponsorship for the Golf Charity Classic, visit the Southeast Produce Council’s website at www.spccharitygolfclassic.com.
A get-acquainted reception and silent auction preview followed by dinner and entertainment will kick off the tournament Wednesday, June 18. The tournament will start at 8 a.m. Thursday, June 19, on the Chateau Course, followed by an awards reception and check presentation.
Even in the first year of Vision Import Group’s SPC membership, Letchworth is already taking advantage of the many benefits the council offers.
“I have taken the inspection training program, and I intend on taking advantage of many other opportunities in the future,” he said.