American Fruit starts foodservice division

American Fruit & Produce Corp., Opa Locka, Fla., has started a foodservice division.

While the distributor distributes produce to customers through its retail, wholesale jobbers, bananas, cruise ships and export divisions, until October American didn’t have a specific foodservice sales division.

Marshall Glantz, American’s president of exports, cruise ships and business development and executive director, said it has long sold to some foodservice customers. The new division, however, focuses on hotels and restaurants.

“We just want to expand,” Glantz said. “This was the last piece of the puzzle that we weren’t doing. We do 33 Caribbean islands, Ritz-Carltons, Marriotts, Westins and other hotels and resorts. We decided it would be in our best interest to enter the foodservice business.”

Oscar Sontolongo, longtime south Florida foodservice sales veteran, heads the division as director of foodservice.

Glantz said Sontolongo, who possesses nearly 30 years in the business, is well known throughout south Florida’s foodservice industry.

Sontolongo worked for A-One-A Produce and Dairy Inc., Pompano Beach, Fla., and P. Tavilla Co. Inc., Miami, and also has ran his own business, Glantz said.

Starting with seven trucks, Glantz said American plans to increase capacity to 20 trucks to distribute to the region’s numerous hotels and restaurants.

For local wholesaling, American distributes throughout south Florida from south Miami north to Stuart, Fla., and Orlando, Fla., as well as west to Fort Myers, Fla.

Produce Connection adds salesman

Florida produce sales veteran Lloyd Rosen joined The Produce Connection Inc., Miami, in October.

Rosen runs The Produce Connection’s B&M Brokerage operation.

For eight years, Rosen was vice president and director of marketing for the William Manis Co. Produce Marketing, Plant City, Fla., and was a vice president in charge of Chilean fruit for the Vancouver, British Columbia-based The Oppenheimer Group during the late 1980s.

Bruce Fishbein, a The Produce Connection partner, said the retired Rosen felt he needed to return to produce sales.

“Not only is he a sales veteran, but he’s one of the brightest people I’ve ever known,” Fishbein said. “He knows everyone and has some great connections, especially in Washington state, where we do a lot of business. Lloyd is an asset who came out of nowhere.”

Rosen was also a lead salesman with the Tampa, Fla.-based Tobi Co. Inc. brokerage and ran Lloyd Rosen Produce Sales Co., Davie, Fla.

Additionally, Fishbein’s son, John Fishbein, 24, is taking over The Produce Connection’s overnight warehouse operations.

John Fishbein began that work during the last year and is helping reduce the distributor’s error rate, Bruce Fishbein said.