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Start a Produce Business By John Shuttleworth Â·''Â·=Â· Â· ' Â· ; ' thevare .Â· i.iu uecuuie. an i^uaiiigiy let-., Â·pit Â»n convince people that ve- os are the best uu i/u UK . market today. The economics of the way most Americans eat will catch up with them sooner or later . . . and some of them will then discover that a fruit-and-veget?ble- based diet is much more than just a bargain. . That in itself is reason enough to go into the produce business, if you've been considering a small, low-overhead enterprise as a means of liberation. There's more to this occupation than good financial prospects... its aesthetics can get you higher than a kite in a desert. The basic idea of the business is buy fruit and vegetables at wholesale cost and sell them wherever you can. The formula for a produce business is simple, really. You'll need the following: + A truck you're sure of. It has to be reliable enough to haul up to two .ions of vegetables wherever you want to sell them. An unexpected breakdown could mean the loss of a day's produce (up to $100 worth) because you'll probably have no place to store and cool the stock while the vehicle is repa -ed. *Â· At least $100 cash to set u p . . . $60 minimum for your first load, plus some incidentals: paper and ~ plastic bags, a scale perhaps. f A neighborhood with no competition. All you have to do is offer better-quality truck than the chain groceries, at lower price*. To begin with, then, you'll havo two areas to research: where to buy your produce, and where to sell it. In Chicago and cities of similar size, the buying of fruit and vegetables offers no problem. Visit the market at 4:00 a.m., before the big buyers and supermarket representative arrive. That way you get the best bargains and don't have to hurry to make selections. One thing to remember when dealing with a wholesale house is that their margin of profit is very slim. You can't haggle with their prices, and you can't waste their time. Know exactly what produce is selling for in the stores from one day to the next. (Local supermarkets often buy leader items by the boxcar, and if you don't keep track of their specials you can easily be undersold.) ! State Magazine, July 6,1975 IT- You can also get your stock from farmers' markets or directly from growers. It's just a matter of tracing the supply lines and meeting the people who can give you the breaks. The cheaper you buy, obviously, the greater your prof it . . . and a little market research goes a long way. . The produce you handle will depend on your customers' preferences -- which you'll determine from experience -- and the availability of a given fruit or vegetable. I sell only what's in season, and stock regulars around which my patrons can build their diets. the availability of taverns. Just pack the remainders in plastic bags and hawk them from table to table or along the bar. It may be hard going at first, until you establish a good reputation, but even in the beginning your produce will speak for itself. A dozen ears of corn for a buck, two heads of lettuce for a quarter, and tomatoes for 25 cents a pound are bargains in any man's ears. Most of the guys in the taverns have just gotten off work, have change to jingle in their pockets and dig the notion of coming home, from the bars with a good buy in vegetables. (There's a psychology to this business, believe me.) Getting yourself established in the bars can lead to other possibilities, too. Regular tavern customers will often approach you about buying produce by the case, for canning or pickling (or just for special occasions such as picnics). Give them a good cut in price and you'll still make a killing. You can make most of your money, and have the best time doing it, Try to cover each route twice a week, with the first load heavy on vegetables. OtUhe second trip carry sweet corn and a large selection of fruit. Everything is effectively displayed in the truck so that customers can approach the side or back doors to see, smell, and feel their selections. Color and tactile qualities are important in the s?le of :fresh produce. An attractive item can literally sell itself. Give your prices very careful thought. It's infinitely more acceptable to cut rates two or three times in the course of a day than to be stuck with a whole case of some item at the end of it. .; The backbone of your business is the specific area where you sell regularly: your own neighborhod route. In the beginning you may do quite a bit of trudging back and forth knocking on doors. Make friends with the children --.they'll herald yourarrival anr 1 Â«'ill do most of the selling !or ' u Wherever there's a child \vb il for fruit instead of.candy thÂ«- t 's a mother willing to buy if tho i-rice is right. Next to children, the nv Â· Â· ithu siastic customers are olu * ople They may not use as much produce as a family, but they're very pleas ant to deal with. They will give you recipes to pass on and tips on wha to buy when . . . and they usuallj purchase for friends and kin across town who don't have a vegetabl man. They'll help keep quality u] and prices down, because thej know what produce is worth. Another factor to consider in choosing a route neighborhood is on weekends. Since some place--, you work require special selling permits, always carry your ped dling license with you. Here are a few ideas for weekends: open-air music festivals, sports events, auctions, animal exhibitions, circuses and carnivals, special event picnics (July 4th), dedications, town celebrations, construction sites during the lunch hour, and parking lots of deserted gas stations. You take it from there. You may not become a produce tycoon, but at the very least you can be a spontaneous entrepreneur who makes a comfortable income at a trade that's healthy for everyone concerned. If you'd like more information on how to sell your produce, send 25 cents and a long, stamped, self-ae- dressed envelope to The Mother Eath News, Sunday Gazette-Ma 1, Charleston, W. Va. 25330. Ask .or Reprint No. 140 "How to Peddl Produce." don't stop eating everything ...go ahead and eat sufficiently while you lose that fat GET RID OF 5,10,25 OR MORE POUNDS WITH THE X-11 DIET PUN that does not include strenuous exercises nor lit you miss mails A SATISFYING EATING DIET THAT WIU PLEASE YOUR APPETITE KnrjjH llii'Si 1 i-Mirim- ."inn r;ilorif-;i-ti;iv tliHs Now yuii fiin t';it Miffirtriilly while um lusr (xiunils of umvitntrd [;it ;is yiiU'fnlliiw thv X-ll Kitluann Dirt I'liin. Nu tiiisMiijr !uv:ik fusts, lunrhrs. ilmni-r N" --t;ir Viilmn ilirtinn " T.ikf :i liny X - l l tiihlrl U-f.iri- iM,-h m.-.il Dnttn tfiii-N \niir .ippriitr DON'T "GO STARVED" *i!h foods vou like Miinq \c scef-ia 1 dfv. rtidh did foods Eniov loods you huv in an* qiO'.e:* * Md Mill* Â· OMlMI hlK ' CVitktn Â· SUtk Â· lim li.UkoH ' Mill tail WHAT EACH TABLET CONTAINS MONKY HACK -CrAKANTKK 'led wiih ir.u'ts tion ,o;n 31 mtuir Ik empty 0^1.tee to n.inu lefuiifled no cvestiont 25mgMETHYLCELLULOSE A cuir mifl'iii; cil'! I A'-H'' ensjifls md is in tfi-V:! I') ?;iwe unÂ« 'inj my o' liema 'irlti 25mgPHENYLPROPANALOIVIINE -V- gcfLh- ^cSie-tvm .niendel lo t - eo c-^e one A WHOLE SPECTRUM OF VITAMINS ( :ni-*!Â«: A.I- V.t.jam i. Bl. 8?. 36. 912. C. iÂ»il i in.1 Slunn.iPii^ No.-.ihrt 'ofirmq diuqs SHOP YOUR NEAREST RI1E AID 42 loblcts S3 !05ToblclsS5 tin sin ilk T instant fashion in jersey of ArnelÂ® 24.00 Shaped with princess lines that flare into pleats in the skirt, Jersey of premium Arnel triacetate ..ashes by hand or machine, rarely needs the touch of an iron. Colors: Red or Navy. Sizes 12to20and12teto24V4. DAYTIME DRESSES Street Floor Stone Thomas, Charleston, W. Va Dept. 36 25326 Please send me the'Shelton Stroller at 24.00. I have enclosed 3% W. Va r State Sales Tax. Quantity Color Size Price Name Address City State Zip.... ChargeQ CheckD Money OrderD New Account C CHARLESTON. IV. V'.A. 3m- Â· '