As their restaurant clientele are mainly idle during the coronavirus pandemic, distributors that sell products such as produce, meat, and seafood are shifting their focus to retail customers.
A half-dozen companies are keeping their trucks rolling through the region. But instead of stopping at a restaurant to unload a thousand dollars’ worth of fresh meats and vegetables at a time, they pull up to a home and apartment with much smaller orders — some as low as $70 with no delivery fee.
The distributors have turned themselves, in effect, into a club store like Costco that offers home delivery. “This changes the middleman, for sure,” said Steve DeLorean, a chef and sales representative at Ashley Foods, in North Philadelphia.
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