370 Mendioka Street
Facebook: PDC Wholesale
By Morgan Legel
Heading up the team at PDC Wholesale, Gavin J. Gaminde, general manager, has had 14 years of experience in the wholesale industry which, admittedly he say has been “the majority of my career.”
PDC services all Pay-Less Supermarkets on island, which it was initially created to do.
He says, “90% of our effort and our output really revolves around our network of eight Pay-Less Supermarket retail stores. One of our core responsibilities and functions is servicing those. Most of the items you see on the shelves that don’t come through local vendors, pass through this facility.”
Additionally, PDC provides services to upwards of 350 other establishments, including the government of Guam, the Guam Department of Education, all of the major franchise restaurants, hotels and almost every mom-and-pop store from Andersen Air Force Base to Merizo.
“Pretty much everyone that sells food, we’re interacting with, or hoping to,” Gaminde says.
Gaminde started at PDC at the tail end of 2017; the company has seen capability and product expansion since then.
The most recent expansions come in the form of new processing plants — one USDA-certified further-meat-processing plant and one produce-processing plant, which can put out prepared foods, like julienned carrots. (See more below.)
According to Gaminde, the meat-processing plant has been renovated, with double the size of the previous, and is currently in use. The produce-processing is not quite there yet, he says, but should be up and running soon.
The best part for Gaminde of the upgrade is being able to bring the community in on an expansion project like this.
“I’m most excited about the opportunity to collaborate with our local farming community,” he says. “Integrating locally-grown produce into pre-packaged, ready-to-serve-and-sell offerings is a huge opportunity for us.”
Tell us about some of PDC’s most popular products and services.
Gavin J. Gaminde: “We do have some very high-volume items. Our number-one selling item is bananas for sure, we sell a ton of those. The thing that drives our business isn’t really a product at all though, it’s a service. Our USDA further-processing plant for pork, poultry and beef provides a large butchering operation; we provide packaging, and customized cutting for restaurants, hotels and retailers. We can process everything from turkey tails and stewing chicken for mom-and-pop stores, to portion control cutting and customized specifics for food service customers.”
Do you have any new services or items planned for the immediate future?
Gaminde: “In the same vein as our meat production, we are putting the finishing touches on our produce-processing plant. Once its deployed, we’ll be able to put together an offering that includes a bagged salad and pre-cut meal kits offering for retailers, think a coleslaw or stir fry, that gives consumers a washed and ready-to-serve or cook option right out of the bag.
“We’ll also be heavily focused on taking some of the prep work out of commercial kitchens — peeled garlic, potatoes, diced onions and julienned carrots are just some of the products we’ll be developing.
“We will also be piloting an online-ordering platform as well, where customers can log in and go through the ordering process online.”
How has business been for PDC in recent months?
Gaminde: “We’ve been fortunate, as volume levels have held, or in some cases grown substantially. We did go through a really rough summer, and it has been very volatile. The pandemic has brought a ton of challenges to the market, both sales and operationally, but our organization has still seen some significant growth.
“Also, the pandemic has brought a lack of predictability to the market, both good and bad. On one hand, the lack of tourism has severely hurt opportunities, but then spurts of opportunity do show up sporadically, like the initial Pandemic Unemployment Assistance payouts, additional Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program funds, and other programs that have helped buoy demand throughout the pandemic”
In recent years, how has both your business and the wholesale industry changed?
Gaminde: “The channels that used to drive our business, even a year ago, don’t anymore. Commodity prices are all over the place and over the course of the pandemic, acquisition costs have made this challenging. Diversifying our customer base has also been the biggest change … . We’re now spread more evenly across more channels; prior to the pandemic, we were very heavily driven by restaurants and hotels. Our core business was built around them. Our product offering at that time didn’t match our new customer base, but we were able to pivot.”
What do you perceive as some challenges that are facing the wholesale industry as a whole?
Gaminde: “The timeframe between COVID’s sunset and our return to 2019 tourism numbers is a big wild card. I think the short-term challenge is going to be staffing, and that’s something everyone is struggling with. But I would say — in the long-term — the outlook for rising supply-chain costs will become one of the biggest challenges for our industry.”
How’s the future looking for PDC Wholesale?
Gaminde: “I think it’s more of the fundamentals of it, upkeeping our fleet, our facility. In terms on innovation, I think the processing and e-commerce is what will be driving us into the future. The future of our organization is going to be a lot more of adding value and services.”