National Association of Produce Market Managers

Founded in 1947, NAPMM strives to help market managers improve facilities and increase services while encouraging cooperation and exchange of ideas between members and partners.

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Don't forget to renew your membership for 2022 by paying your renewal invoice! If your membership was current 2021 and you did not receive a renewal invoice, please contact Linda Best at [email protected]. New members please click here to Join NAPMM  by completing the application. Memberships to NAPMM remain affordable at only $95 a year per individual. We have recently implemented a new membership management and payment system that provides you the option on the invoice to pay by credit card, and if you have any questions, contact  [email protected]

Congratulations to Mark Smith, Winner of NAPMM's Market Manager of the Year Award!

 

Congratulations to Mark Smith, winner of NAPMM's Market Manager of the Year Award! 

 

Joining the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market (PWPM) as General Manager in the fall of 2018 and NAPMM in 2019, he arrived in a tough year. A Market plagued with internal issues, including financial improprieties and low morale, the Board took a chance at bringing in an individual with no past experience with produce. Mark was savvy enough to translate his knowledge of business, design, government, mechanics, and people and parlay that into many successes for the entire Market. He quickly proved that through listening and innovative thinking, problems can be addressed and solved. As a result, he gained the trust and respect of not only the Board of Directors, but of each and every merchant on the sales floor. 

While operating as a for-profit Wholesale Market, their services are also open to the public, and anyone can purchase by the case/carton. The Market is owned by Philaport, the Port of Philadelphia and the Market Manager's supervisor is their Board of Directors (BOD), headed by Chairman George Binck, COO of Procacci Brothers. While the BOD oversees the finances and overall operation, over the last 3.5 years, Mark has supported the BOD in rebuilding the Market's finances to ensure short and long-term financial success for the market and for the 19 merchants who occupy the facility. 

Two years ago, PWPM set out on a path to reduce costs and eliminate landfill waste. They partnered with various organizations to meet these goals and currently, their landfill diversion rate is about 65%. As a result, there has been a 50% reduction in waste costs, and, in 2021, new partnerships with area food banks, led by Sharing Excess, increased food donations and further decreased waste. Sharing Excess has taken a spot in their Market breezeway and sorts through produce everyday from 7AM to 11AM, which it in turn shares with various food banks and community hunger organizations.  Since July of 2011, they have received over $2.5 million pounds of produce donations from PWPM merchants.

In terms of facility improvements, Mark oversees a 676,000 square foot facility that is fully-enclosed and fully-refrigerated and secured a $1.2 million grant from the State of Pennsylvania to replace the refrigeration system. This is the largest of its kind in the world. Mark and his team team have also implemented a program for the entire facility which included new maintenance software to manage thousands of preventative maintenance tasks per year and implemented a cleaning protocol that supports all of our merchants with all of their inspections.

Beyond daily operations and strategic improvements, Mark prioritizes promoting all the good work done at his Market. Every year, PWPM participates in the New York Produce Show in December. Hosting conversations at three different booths, their staff meets with current and potential customers and gives out hoagies directly from the City of Brotherly love. They also give out beanie hats to symbolically represent their chilled marketplace. On social media, followers can see beautiful produce and read about customer experiences or various merchants. On-site, they host approximately 25 tours for various groups throughout the year, including culinary schools, restaurants, supply chain students, international groups, industry trade groups, etc.

Thanks to Mark's leadership, PWPM have cut costs and waste, and increased efficiency in security, maintenance, and operations. In a short time, he's  earned the respect of everyone at his market through his approachability and his eye toward the future. Outside of the Market, he attended the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan and studied Industrial Design.  He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and is certified in Project Management.  He is seeking his Master's Degree in Management and Leadership.  Mark previously served under Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf in various roles since early 2015, including planning the Pope's historic visit to Philadelphia, which included the largest national security event in the U.S. He was also named as Executive Director of Broadband Initiatives to develop and execute a state-wide strategy to increase broadband across PA.

Congratulations again Mark, and thank you for all you do!


NAPMM New Orleans Conference Highlights - March 7-10, 2022

This past month the organization finally broke free from the confines of FaceTime, and reunited face to face in the beautiful city of New Orleans. We were submerged in the rich culture and history of the city that is deeply rooted in markets and curbside merchants. In addition to the rich history and culture, members of the organization were able to dive deep into discussions of local food systems, what is entailed in recovery from natural disasters, and how markets can be so important as the heart of a community to drive the recovery process.  

We opened up the conference on the evening of March 7th, with a reception hosted just across the street from the hotel at the Pythian Market. This building, full of its own rich history, is home to a booming food hall on the first level and a fully catered event space and bar on the upper level. The membership enjoyed an open bar, a delicious selection of hor d'oeuvres, and even a carving station. It was a great evening full of networking, connecting with those who we have missed over the past two years of quarantine, and getting to know the many new members who were joining us for the first time. 

Following the reception, we wrapped up the night in the hospitality room. It was all a buzz with old friends reconnecting, new members creating new connections, and stories being told of the ins, outs, challenges, and triumphs that each market manager had faced in the recent years. 

The next morning we were treated to breakfast in a private room in the hotel's restaurant, and then kicked off a day full of learning. The day opened up with a presentation on the Crescent City Farmers Market and Market Umbrella, and the important role that they played in bringing the community back from Hurricane Katrina. This highlighted, not only the importance of  markets in the food system, but also in their ability to create a community and bring people together. The day continued with learning all about the rich food and beverage history and culture in New Orleans, the roots of markets and how the food and beverage history has been so deeply woven into markets, and their importance to the community throughout history and today. Other highlights included a panel discussion and Q & A of Market Managers representing the organizations' diverse membership and how different management models affect market management, an opportunity to hear all about architectural and grant services that the USDA has to offer to markets, and finally a spotlight on the International Fresh Produce Association and the merger between United Fresh and the Produce Marketing Association. After members grabbed dinner on their own, and had some time to explore New Orleans, the night was once again concluded in the hospitality room where there were some nitty gritty discussions of the real day to day challenges that occurred in the depths of COVID and how those challenges had been handled. 
 

The next two days were packed full of tours. We kicked off the first day of tours with a visit to JV Foods. The size of the building proved to be incredibly misleading, though our group had to split into two to fit inside, the operation was by no means small. This tour showed the value of cultivating relationships with local growers and markets, and demonstrated an incredible business that is able to source and congregate locally grown and produced goods to get them into restaurants at a fair price to the farmer, while also limiting the farmers' expense of marketing, fulfilling, and transporting the goods to the restaurants. We then traveled out to the Westwego Shrimp Lot, where we got to learn all about the aquaculture and seafood industry in New Orleans. We then took a trip over Lake Pontchartrain on the Causeway Bridge, the world's longest bridge over a body of water. This ride brought us to Covey Rise Lodge where we were served a delicious lunch of regional cuisine, in their beautiful lodge. We then boarded tractor pulled wagons and got a tour of their  full operation, learning about the produce and flowers that they raise and their unique business model. The day of tours was closed out with a visit to St. Roche Market. This historic market is now home to an astounding food hall with a renowned bar. There, we were able to grab a happy hour drink and learn about the history of the market and how it became what it is today.
                                                                
 
The final day of the conference began by boarding the bus once again, but for just a short drive to the French Quarter. As soon as we entered the French Quarter, we were able to begin taking in the businesses that make up the French Market. Most of us started our day with coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde, and then explored the area with time to eat and shop before heading in to learn all about the history and management of the French Market and market district. Following that, the membership was given a credit for lunch in the market and adjoining district and given additional time to explore the market, market district, and French Quarter, before boarding the bus to the Mid-City Market. This pop up market was rich with delicious and unbelievably fresh products. We had time to shop, mingle and enjoy the market before boarding the bus to head back to the hotel to get ready for the awards banquet.
                                       
At the awards banquet, we were able to honor Mark Smith from the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market as Market Manager of the year. We also honored Linda Best for her service to the organization as she looks toward retirement from the administrator role. Overall, it was a great night filled with raffles, a beautifully catered meal, an open bar, and celebration of comradeship both new and old. 

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