Jorge Antona is a very busy man. He is president of Diaz Produce and he loves his job.
“I don’t think you do what I do without loving it, takes a lot of hours, making sure the trucks get there and get to you,” he said. “It is an around-the-clock kind of job.”
The hard work is paying off. “We have done fairly well the last two years and we’ve grown tremendously,” he continued. “We saw 20 percent growth in 2013, and are on the same path for 2014.”
Antona also announced on Sept. 22 that Erik Musto, a 19-year veteran of the Georgia State Farmers market and most recently in sales with Phoenix Wholesale, has joined Diaz Produce as its new general manager.
This is all on the heels of the 2009 merger of Diaz Produce with Diaz Foods, one of the largest Hispanic distributors in the country.
Antona started his career working as a food service representative for Diaz Foods, a privately held family business established in 1980.
His family and the Diaz family have known each other for over 40 years. In 2003, Antona founded Diaz Produce, and now the company has officially joined the larger Diaz Foods family.
“We have had steady growth since we opened in 2003,” Antona said of Diaz Produce. His clients are in twenty-four states on the East Coast.
“Diaz Produce has always served as the produce arm of Diaz Foods,” Antona added. “The company has gone from operating three trucks to a fleet of 80.”
Through Diaz Foods, Diaz Produce reaches over 1,000 primarily Mexican restaurants on the East Coast. “It’s a niche clientele, our entire focus has been Hispanic food,” Antona said.
The company specializes in Hispanic produce, and not surprisingly avocado is its number one item. “Any vegetable you’ve been served at a Mexican restaurant we carry and then some,” he said.
At its Forest Park location at the Atlanta State Market, Diaz Produce has a large ripening service. “We have two gas rooms and we ripen for restaurants, for ourselves and for retailers,” said Antona.
Diaz has a food service division, a retail division and a distribution sales channel.
Diaz sells all categories of Hispanic foods, produce, meats, dairy and all Hispanic grocery items. They buy a lot of products domestically and import from all over, including Mexico, Central America, South America and Thailand.
To gain new business, Antona brought in more sales people to increase the service level.
At all times the company has 800 of 4,000 retail items. “That goes a long way to growing business and growing our customers,” said Antona. “We have access to 4,000 items, so we get a lot of special order requests.”
The company is looking to increase its distribution reach and better serve some of the northern states that are in its footprint right now. They feel there is more growth opportunity with retailers to grow business in the northern states.