Samson’s Fruit and Vegetable Supply sees itself as one of the quiet achievers of Australia’s wholesale sector.
The business has an extensive history at the Sydney Markets, dating back to the early 1980s when it was founded by the Gulifa brothers in honour of their father Sam, hence the name Samson’s.
The Gulifa brothers passed on their legacy to the current management team in 2006. Under the guidance of managing director Carlo Trimboli, directors Mark Bromley and Neville Tunneycliff, and group general manager Mark Lorenzetto, the Samson’s business has built steadily by forging strong partnerships with both its growers and customers.
“Sustainable business is developed over time and we’ve found it most effective to first understand what the end goal is and work backward from there,” says Trimboli. “It’s about developing and servicing long-term relationships, not making noise about short-term wins. We’re focused on building a sustainable business with partners to drive mutual outcomes.”
Servicing independent retailers, exporters, food service vendors and major supermarkets, Samson’s operates with four principles always in mind.
“We want to add value to the supply chain, we approach everything with a win-win attitude, we build trust by paying our growers on time and as a result, we build a strong team which allows us to improve business,” explains Trimboli.
Offering over 60 products – spanning artichokes to zucchini, and tropicals to hard produce – Samson’s is constantly looking at methods to improve storage and handling procedures in order to preserve produce integrity.
Trimboli says the fresh produce wholesale sector is “transitioning through an evolutionary cycle”, with major challenges including rising operating costs, pressure to achieve margins, and constantly changing customer expectations.
He believes the sector can retain its relevance by adding value to the supply chain, not just costs.
“We see technology as the conduit to streamline our processes, and to allow us to work more closely and effectively with our growers and other parts of the supply chain,” Trimboli tells Produce Plus.
“Ultimately listening to our suppliers and customers and working towards overcoming our challenges will pave the way for a successful future.”
As the wholesale landscape continues to evolve, so too will consolidation within Australia’s central markets, according to Trimboli.
“This will happen through mergers and the expansion of larger operators striving to gain economies of scale,” he says.
“As an industry we should always embrace change and see it as an opportunity to grow. The trading floor may be evolving from when we first started but the spirit and culture of the markets remains.”
Trimboli also believes investment must be made in ushering in the next generation of wholesalers.
“There is a massive need for the current generation of wholesale operators to attract and introduce young talent to the central markets,” he notes. “The industry faces a challenging period of rationalisation and it desperately needs a boost. Youth can bring that.”
Samson’s has recently expanded its business into the Brisbane Markets, which Trimboli says was a logical move for the company.
“Brisbane allows us to enter a stable market and continue our expansion. Most importantly it is a good fit culturally,” he explains.
“It also allows us to add value and scale to support our growers in marketing their produce while also opening up opportunities to introduce products that we previously haven’t handled.”
While the business continues to expand, its mantra remains the same.
“We’re happy to keep chipping away and building our business quietly,” Trimboli says. “Our growers are at the centre of everything we do, and our job is to get the best possible return for them.”
This article originally appeared in the Spring edition of Produce Plus Magazine, out now.