Aug 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By David A Kolman
At Keany Produce Company in Landover, Maryland, whatever the customer's request, the answer is always: “no problem.” That attitude, along with produce excellence, has kept this family owned and operated business, focused on the culinary industry, growing for more than 30 years.
A 24-hour operation, it offers the largest array of fruits and vegetables, specialty produce, and pre-cut items on the East Coast. Produce is purchased directly from growers around the nation, rather than from terminal markets, and received daily.
Housed in a 90,000-sq-ft state-of-the art facility in a suburb northeast of Washington, DC, it has a customized refrigeration system that maintains everything at its ideal temperature and humidity.
With a fleet of more than 120 refrigerated vehicles, Keany Produce services chefs, restaurants, hotels, caterers, cafeterias, and others throughout Washington, DC; Baltimore, Maryland; Maryland's Eastern Shore; Northern Virginia, the Richmond and Fredericksburg, Virginia, region, and Pennsylvania. However, the bulk of business is within 150 air miles of its facility.
Deliveries are made six days a week using drivers assigned to routes. A special transportation unit provides “hotshot” deliveries. Total fleet miles last year were nearly 4.3 million.
Since its founding in 1978 by Kevin Keany, the company has continued to expand offerings and services. For the most part, all the changes have been due to customer requests and inquiries, he says.
“In this business, you have to truly be customer focused,” says Keany, who cut his teeth in the produce business as a greenhorn salesperson. “You always need to find a better way to do things, and do everything in a timely fashion.”
He also learned early on that orders often come in late, there are special requests, and orders frequently change, even at the last minute. “You can't say ‘no,’ because if you do, the competition will say ‘yes,’ and customers remember that.”
Too many companies fail to keep in mind that the purpose of business is to make and keep customers, says Keany. That requires an unrivaled attention to customer service.
His dominant business philosophy is: The answer is “yes, now what is the question?” He has instilled that into his more than 350 employees, and this has, in turn, helped Keany Produce build and maintain long-standing relationships with customers and suppliers.
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