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With 40 years of retail experience, Terry Cook joins Trucco

Produce executives never underestimate the value of people who have decades of experience in the field. Terry Cook, who joined Hunts Point Terminal Market-based Trucco as retail sales representative last year, brings 40 years of experience to the company — and he brings another valuable trait: his experience is in the retail sector.cook

“I came from the buying side to the selling side,” explained Cook, who is working from Florida in his new position.

“I joined SuperValu in 1977 and worked from the bottom up. Initially I did phone sales, and then became a local buyer and did direct sales,” he continued. “In 1984, I moved to the company’s home office in Minneapolis to oversee centralized purchasing for imported produce and banana buying — which was before bananas were contracted. It was a different business back then. Even imports were new to the industry.”

In 1988 SuperValu began direct importing grapes and stone fruits from Chile, and was one of the first companies to buy direct. Cook said importing was met with mixed reaction at the time.

In 2005, the company moved its fresh produce operation out of the home office and opened a separate office just for the import category.

“I was transferred to the centralized field buying office in Lakeland, FL, that year, and started with a new personnel team,” he explained. “I remained there until SuperValu closed that office in 2018.”

Cook said that he knew always enjoyed working with Tony Biondo, a longtime sales representative at Trucco.

“In a conversation with Tony I mentioned that SuperValu was closing the office,” explained Cook. “He suggested I contact Nick Pacia, president of Trucco. We shared a mutual and instant rapport, and I joined the company.”

He pointed out that Trucco’s primary goal is to expand, which it has been doing for the past several years. The company opened its new Vineland, NJ, packing and distribution facility in 2018, adding to its quickly growing footprint. In addition to increasing the range of items the company has successfully handled in past years, such as citrus, its plan is to add new items to its lineup. Cook’s experience in imports will contribute to Trucco’s growth goals.

“Last year Trucco added summertime mandarins from Chile, Peru and Uruguay,” said Cook. “The Vineland facility has a bagging operation for our citrus, and our mandarins are sold under the TruStar brand name. Our citrus line also includes lemons and limes, both of which we are expanding. This summer we will offer a navel orange program.”

Trucco also entered a Peruvian grape deal, which it was in the middle of in early January. The program will include green and red grapes. The programs will wrap up sometime in February. Its future plans include adding Chilean grapes to its offerings.

“Trucco deals with a lot of people, especially with its mainstays like kiwifruit, blueberries, garlic, chestnuts and an extensive line of dried fruits and nuts,” said Cook. “Our goal is to increase the demand for our newer products and make them as popular as the products it has handled and developed a sound reputation for during its many decades in business.”

The company’s extensive kiwifruit line includes green, gold and, most recently, red kiwifruit. It also offers organic kiwifruit.

In December, Pacia told The Produce News, “We have spent the past 20 years evolving into one of the largest distributors of kiwifruit in the United States. We are well known for our high-quality green, gold and organic varieties. This new red kiwifruit program provides Trucco with the ability to provide our customers and consumers with a more diverse selection of kiwifruit.”

Coming from the buying end, Cook is in a prime position to help increase the demand for Trucco’s entire line. He knows what customers want from their vendors, and he has a perspective from both sides, which will help both Trucco and its customers.

“We plan to expand in the Southeast and Midwest — both regions where I have a lot of experience,” said Cook. “Trucco deals in the highest quality of product. Our reputation is based on our dependability and trustworthiness. These assets, along with our outstanding level of customer satisfaction, are our primary drivers.”

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