Ever since Robert Colescott founded Pompano Beach, FL-based Southern Specialties in 1990, the company’s mission has been to provide the finest restaurants and hotels in the nation with the best service and highest quality specialty produce.
Over its more than three decades in business, the company has continued to provide these services, adding the leading retailers and club stores in North America to its mix.
The company’s Southern Selects line of value-added specialty produce, and its extensive private label programs provide consumers with top-quality produce items and a trusted name behind it.
Just as it is for most produce companies these days, Southern Specialties is working to overcome some challenges in the industry, mainly higher prices.
“We continue to see an increase in business across the board, but recent inflationary factors and spikes in fuel prices are creating stress in maintaining healthy margins,” said Charlie Eagle, vice president of business development for the company. “Increased costs across the board due to inflation and political factors present significant challenges. Strong partnerships enable us to have tough discussions with our customers.”
Those discussions are softened by the fact that customers understand Southern Specialties has a long history of trusted service behind it and know it’s working its hardest to provide them what they need at a price that’s fair given today’s market.
“In the 31 years we have been in business, we have grown some strong partnerships,” Eagle said. “Our tag line is, ‘let’s grow something special.’ That is meant for our specialty produce line, as well as our relationships. Today, we have earned an enviable list of customers that include some of the finest retailers, club stores and foodservice distributors in North America. We work hard to deliver the best product we can at a fair price, consistently.”
Working in Pompano has always held special meaning to the company.
“Aside from its history as home to a vibrant produce market, Pompano brings significant value to truckers,” Eagle said. “At a time when driver hours and fuel costs stress profitability, Pompano’s strategic location north of the Miami area and its close proximity to major truck arteries helps move product efficiently.”
In 2022, Southern Specialties has some growth initiatives on tap, such as adding Broccoli florets, snipped green beans and sweet baby broccoli to its lineup of value-added products.
“We have also grown our presence in the Mexico asparagus deal and increased our organic lineup,” Eagle said. “We recently added personnel to both our sales and marketing teams so you can see we are bullish on the future.”
The prognosis for the future remains strong, despite the challenges, and Eagle expects to see continued strong business in the year ahead.
“We are expecting the foodservice sector to continue the growth trend we have been seeing,” he said. “Our Southern Selects value-added line is gaining more recognition and we are continuing to re-format our packaging with a fresh new design that showcases the product nicely and includes a strong visual of a trendy recipe on the bag.”
By Keith Loria
March 28, 2022