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3 Guys from Brooklyn’s Fresh Tradition


Originally printed in the July 2020 issue of Produce Business.

Brooklyn institution supplies New Yorkers with fresh produce.

“A Fruit and Vegetable Tree Grows in Brooklyn for the Pick of the Crop”, trumpeted the 3 Guys from Brooklyn produce market in a 1977 New York Daily News advertisement. The reference to the 1940s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn book and movie is fitting as the store has provided fresh produce to residents of “The Borough of Trees” for more than 40 years.

One of New York’s few remaining open-air markets, the Brooklyn landmark attracts shoppers who desire quality fruits and vegetables from all over the greater New York region.

Run by close-knit family members and friends, 3 Guys first began operation in the mid-1970s at the corner of 65th Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway. It sells produce inside and mostly outside of the 3,000-square-foot building. While produce and other foods are found inside, the main attractions are the two-dozen 10-foot-by-4-foot produce stands that surround the building. Produce accounts for 85% of the store’s business.

“Produce is everything,” says Philip A. Penta, managing partner. “It’s what we are known for. Our reputation is based on doing produce better than anyone else. Customers rely on us to feed them and keep them healthy. We have the most critical population of produce customers that exists. If something is not to their liking, they will let us know about it.”

About 80% of 3 Guys’ labor is dedicated to maintaining the produce, which is displayed and merchandised in oversized Euro stands. One side of the store’s exterior is vegetables while fruit graces the other side. Merchandise is rotated daily, stacked high and organized by category, colors and sizes. Inside the store, more stands display tropicals, greens, roots, onions, potatoes and other produce.

The store utilizes the vivid colors of produce to market freshness. “Color breaks are one of our biggest considerations when setting up daily,” sa