Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2016 - 62


Perrone and Sons LLC.
Integrating with New Orleans
Perrone and Sons' history began when Bartholomew Perrone, Rusty Perrone's great-grandfather, opened Progress
Grocery in New Orleans's French Quarter in 1924. The store
was a hit with the large Italian community as locals came to
view it as the go-to place for imported goods from Europe.
As time went on the community changed and Italian
families moved out. Meanwhile, New Orleans cemented its
status as a culinary destination and restaurants began coming to Progress Grocery to buy specialty products. The grocery store developed a wholesale business and began making
deliveries to eateries in the French Quarter.
By 2001, the lack of local customers prompted the Perrone family to close the grocery store and concentrate solely
on the wholesale operation. As a retailer, Progress Grocer
was known for its olive salads, stuffed artichokes and Muffaletta sandwiches.
After the switch to wholesale, restaurants and supermarkets continued to rely on Perrone and Sons for those and
other specialty food products. The company has also partnered with several of its restaurant customers to sell retail
versions of signature food items, such as sauces from Two
Tony's and Commander's Palace Chef Tory McPhail's rum
vinegar, specialty sauces and marinades.
The company today has three primary divisions: food production and private label, foodservice, and retail distribution. "If there is a white table cloth restaurant in New Orleans, nine times out of 10 we're serving them with a gourmet
product," Rusty Perrone says.
Perrone and Sons' most important market is New Orleans,
but the company's wholesale operation covers a 200-mile radius from its headquarters in Metairie, La. Its market reaches as far east as Mobile, Ala., and as far west as Lafayette, La.
To reach those customers - and the ones in New Orleans -
Perrone and Sons owns and operates six refrigerated trucks.
Rusty Perrone attributes the company's success to the
quality and service standards his great-grandfather first established when he opened Progress Grocery in the 1920s.
"Basically, [we are] just sticking to the core values of our
family business," he says. "We have a reputation in the city
of being honest and fair people, dedicated to preserving our
heritage and the legacy my great-grandfather provided."
That legacy is what Rusty Perrone says sets the family owned company apart from its competitors. "We're the
oldest specialty foodservice distributor in the city," he adds.
Many chefs who work in The Big Easy's most renowned
eateries learn to purchase from Perrone and Sons, then continue to do so once they open their own restaurants. "Our
success in foodservice is really our spanning history of serving those types of products," Perrone says.
Part of Perrone and Sons' legacy is honoring members
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RETAIL-MERCHANDISER.COM

March/April 2016

of the Perrone family. Rusty Perrone's twin brother, Randy,
died in 2013 from complications with brain cancer. Randy
Perrone was the company's director of retail and the family
struggled with the loss on multiple sides. "To have a double whammy on the family front and the business front was
quite difficult," Rusty Perrone recalls. "But fortunately we
have a great family of employees that really stepped up."
Perrone and Sons is honoring Randy Perrone's memory with its new Brie, Saint Randeaux. Rusty Perrone says
the company plans to donate of portion of sales proceeds to
brain cancer research.

Strengthening Vendors
New Orleans is a hot culinary market that is attracting more
interest from national wholesalers. To thrive in the face of
well-funded competition, Perrone and Sons is relying on its
relationships with vendors such as BelGioioso Cheese, a specialty cheese producer based in Green Bay, Wis. Such exclu-


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2016

Contents
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2016 - Cover1
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2016 - Cover2
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2016 - 1
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2016 - 2
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2016 - Contents
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2016 - 4
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2016 - 5
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