AJ Trucco Inc.

Importing and distributing an assortment of fine nuts and produce
Written by: 
Jeanee Dudley
Produced by: 
Drew Taylor

AJ Trucco Inc. (Trucco) has been in business since 1937 when the business first set up shop in the old Washington Produce Market in downtown Manhattan. Over the years, the business has grown significantly and in 1965, the company relocated to Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx.

Today, the company serves a growing market of grocers and retailers throughout the region. Trucco has built a reputation for high-quality fruits and nuts, as well as outstanding customer service.

Nick Pacia, president of Trucco, partnered with owner Salvatore Vacca in 1999. For more than 15 years, Pacia has worked with his team, building relationships with growers and overseas exporters to bring a diverse and unusual inventory to the market.

Today, Pacia employs approximately 25 people. As a fourth-generation packer and distributor, Pacia grew up in the business. He understands the produce market like few others do and operated his own business before officially merging with Trucco in 2000.

It’s got to be kiwi

Trucco is a specialty supplier, with a diverse but focused range of products. The company’s strongest products are kiwis and Italian chestnuts. On top of that the business carries grapes, citrus fruits, fresh and dried figs, a variety of dried fruits and nuts and garlic. The team also has a growing line of organic produce that has been taking off over the last few years.

The company primarily serves grocers in the Northeast, including everything from independent stores to major retailers. “We operate as a service-driven company,” Pacia explains. “Our relationships with our customers are strong and our relationships with our growers are longstanding. We try to not pigeon-hole ourselves as an import-only company. We try to be very involved with growers and help them market their products. We started working with a local blueberry farm in New Jersey and we had a successful season. We look forward to expanding our program with them next summer.”

Still growing

As a food distributor, Pacia and his team face many of the same challenges as other companies in the industry. The crew has faced erratic commodities pricing, spurned by difficult and unreliable weather. As fuel costs continually rise, transportation costs keep going up. These expanses put pressure on margins and both growers and distributors have had to find creative ways to improve profitability.

Therefore, Trucco has focused on internal management, improving efficiencies and focusing on the aspects of the market that the crew has control over. “We work to have great relationships,” Pacia explains. “Our goal is to facilitate as many aspects of our transactions as possible. Our customers know we are dedicated to offering them the best service possible and that is how we keep them.”

The business also manages costs through picking and choosing what to perform in-house. The team rents property in the Bronx, as well as a cooling facility in New Jersey. Pacia and his team also keep close watch on the market and the way consumer trends shift. He knows what customers are looking for and adjusts the line to meet changing demands. While the core product line stays relatively the same, the crew is continually adding products and improving services to boost customer satisfaction.

Looking ahead

One of the largest trends in the market right now is organic food, a market sector that seems to grow month over month. “We plan to grow in the organic area,” Pacia says. “We already offer organic clementines and kiwis from Italy. We are creating a new line of organic products and we will keep developing that line to meet consumer demand.”

Over the coming years, the crew is also working in British Columbia, Michigan, Peru, Argentina and Chile to supplement the local supply of blueberries and provide year-round supply.

Pacia and his partners have established long-term goals of growth. By gauging and responding to market demand, Trucco is securing a lasting place as a classic New York produce distributor. Customers can count on the crew to offer only the best quality produce to pass along to customers. Pacia and his crew want their customers’ success as much as their own, a factor that has helped keep these partnerships going for decades.

After more than 75 years in business, Trucco has built a legacy of quality foods and strong principles. The team strives to provide fresh, delicious produce to consumers throughout the Northeast United States and practices these principles with experience, integrity and innovation. With strong industry and customer relationships, AJ Trucco Inc. is on course to keep leading the market in specialty produce for decades to come.

Strategic Partnership(s): 
Cittone & Chinta LLP
John Molinelli Inc.