Pat Scalzi, owner & founder of Scalzi Produce has been involved within the fruit and vegetable industry for almost 50 years. Migrating to Australia in 1959, his love for the fruit & vegetable industry started when he helped his father Pietro harvest and sell home-grown tomatoes.
Whilst completing his schooling, Pat also sold newspapers as a part time job, where he met Peter Michael Craig of H Craig Wholesalers to whom he sold a newspaper to everyday. Peter advised him ‘there was no money to be made in papers, so you should come and work for me’. So, at the age of 12 Pat worked for Peter in the early hours of the morning before school and in school holidays.
After finishing his schooling in 1966, Pat chose to work for Swing Kallins selling televisions and it only took 3 months into this role when Pat realised his future was in the Market. Peter from H Craig Wholesalers offered him a full-time position earning $44 per week, a car and tuition expenses to study Business Management at the Institute of Technology. After only 2 weeks of being employed to check and count stock, pack, dispatch and deliver orders, Pat was promoted to head buyer of H Craig Wholesalers.
After five years as head buyer, the skills and experience that Pat had gained led him to open up his own store in 1972 called City Fruit and Veg with partners Ralph & Barbara Rotolo supplying hotels, motels and restaurants in Adelaide. It was only 3 years later in 1975, that Pat opened up his second wholesale business called Scalzi Produce. Additionally, Pat’s involvement and passion for the fruit and vegetable industry continued to expand, where he was appointed as President of the SA Chamber of Fruit & Vegetables for 3 years representing the wholesale sector of the industry.
Both stores were located within the East End Market in Rundle Street, and with increasing population and production costs, Adelaide’s wholesale fruit and vegetable market was proving to be too small and too inefficient within the Adelaide CBD.
As a result, in 1987 wholesalers, retailers and growers formed a private company, Adelaide Produce Market Limited and began construction of a new market complex in the northern suburb of Pooraka, to where both Scalzi Produce and City Fruit & Veg re-located.
Pat, together with long time friend John Eakins were influential in the set up of the new Market and played an integral part in ensuring it was independently owned and operated. Pat & John campaigned and lobbied against complete Government ownership of the new Market, and in turn worked collaboratively with wholesalers, growers and retailers to generate the funds needed to form the new Market by selling shares in Adelaide Produce Market Ltd.
Pat’s involvement and funding to construct the new Market earned him a position as a Director on the Adelaide Produce Market Ltd Board, later serving as Chairman from 1989 for seven years. Today, Pat continues to remain a Director of the Board, serving almost 25 years of service.
Scalzi Produce remains a family business with Pat and son, Fabrizio Scalzi overseeing the day to day operations of the business.