About M. Levin & Co.
M. Levin and Company, Inc. is a full-line wholesale produce distribution company based out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1906, we are family owned and operated and have been since inception. The Company is currently being run by its third and fourth generation family members. We are best known as one of the largest banana ripeners and distributors on the East Coast. We are also well-known for our extensive line of tropical items, carrying one of the largest selections in the tri-state area. Aside from bananas and tropical items, M. Levin carries a full-line of fresh fruits and vegetables that boast the variety and quality that M. Levin has built its foundation upon. M. Levin owns six units inside the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market.
In 1906 the late Michael Levin began selling bananas off of the back of a horse drawn wagon along the cobblestoned streets of what is now Society Hill, Philadelphia. He began his business by extending credit to those whom he felt were “trustworthy”. By 1912, his reputation, ability and integrity had grown so that the Atlantic Fruit Company turned over to him its largest jobbing house on Dock Street. By the mid-1920s, Michael and his brothers had developed into the largest banana business in the eastern part of the United States.
The company during the Great Depression found itself deep in debt from extending credit to those whom could not pay their bills. After the Depression, Michael along with his four sons began to rebuild the business. They began rebuilding by importing fruit into Florida from Cuba and Haiti. Michael and his son, Leon, set up shop in Miami and began sending bananas by boxcar back up to Philadelphia. Once there, Michael’s other three sons, Martin, Albert and Ralph, would ripen and distribute the bananas.
In the mid-1950s, the original Philadelphia Produce Marked located on Dock Street decided to move from its Dock Street location to a new facility on Packer Avenue in South Philadelphia. M. Levin & Company, Inc. became a part of the Philadelphia Regional Produce Terminal Market and also built a 200,000 square foot warehouse headquarters where they did their banana ripening, directly across the street from the market. In the 1960s and 1970s the current third generation of Levins entered the business, Mark Levin, Michael Levin, David Levin and Joel Segel. This third generation divided up the responsibilities that were once their grandfathers’, fathers’ and uncles’.
Fast forward to the 2000s and Mark, Michael, David and Joel all have their daughters diligently working in the family business. The fourth generation is comprised of an entirely female cast, Margie Fischman, Sarah Levin, Tracie Levin and Brenda Segel. The third generation is actively involved in the business and is imparting their words of wisdom to their daughters for how to run a successful produce business. Michael and Joel’s daughters, Margie and Brenda, have been working in the business since the 1990’s. Margie works in the company’s foodservice division and Brenda works in inventory control. Mark’s daughter, Tracie, joined the company in 2006 after graduating from the University of Delaware and is involved in new business development and operations management. Tracie has been actively involved in both United Fresh and PMA’s Leadership Development programs since she began with the company. M. Levin realizes the importance in widening the scope of the fourth generation in order for them to truly understand the produce industry. David’s daughter, Sarah, is the most recent addition to the group. She joined the company in 2009 after graduating from West Chester University and is involved in the company’s banana ripening division. All four women are working together to update the business to today’s standards, knowing that in today’s world women are integral parts of the business world.
With the constantly evolving food-safety concerns in today’s produce world the girls see this as a coming challenge and are proactively working towards the goal of becoming third-party food safety audit compliant. As a group they see this as something that will set them apart from others who are slower to adapt in this fast-changing industry. The fourth generation is also more adept than their former generations when it comes to technology. In the past few years this generation has been involved in transitioning the company into a new computer system that allows the company to operate more efficiently, and allows for greater traceability features than the prior system allowed for. This generation also sees the value in social media. They have also created a Facebook page (M. Levin & Company Inc.), allowing for others in the industry to stay in touch with what is new and exciting in the company. The fourth generation is working diligently to modernize the business by bringing their current ideas to the table and will be able to see how they will grow and develop along with the business.
L-R: Michael Levin, David Levin, Mark Levin and Joel Segel.
L-R: Sarah D’Amario, Margie Fischman, Brenda Segel and Tracie Levin.
In June of 2010 M. Levin made the move from the antiquated terminal market to the state-of-the-art Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market on Essington Avenue in SW Philadelphia (the building is touted as, “the world’s largest refrigerator”). M. Levin currently occupies six units in the market along with 21 other wholesalers. Within the new market, M. Levin has built 14 state-of-the-art ripening rooms which have allowed them to further expand their ripening capabilities. Today M. Levin & Company, Inc. is still recognized as one of the largest jobbers/wholesalers of bananas on the North American continent. With the fourth generation being taught by life-long produce industry veterans, these four women will be more than capable of moving the company forward and will show the produce industry how it’s really done these days! M. Levin & Company, Inc. grew from a banana company into one that today carries a full-line of domestic and imported fruits and vegetables, including an impressive list of tropical items, as well as handles juices, drinks, peanuts, seasonal items, value-added produce and an assortment of paper products to complement retail produce departments. M. Levin also has delivery capabilities to ship items as far north as Canada, as far west as Chicago, and as far south as Virginia. This year M. Levin & Company, Inc. celebrates its 111th year of being in operation and thanks their loyal suppliers and customers for all they have done throughout the years to keep M. Levin one of the top wholesalers in the region!
The Third Generation
David Levin – David is in charge of M. Levin’s Banana Program. He is involved with the daily ripening, sales and distribution. David joined M. Levin in 1976.
Mark Levin – Mark is the CEO and is involved in everyday management as well as the buying and selling of melons, grapes, tree-fruit and berries amongst other items. Mark is the grandson of Michael Levin (founder), the son of Leon Levin (second generation) and the father of Tracie Levin. Mark joined M. Levin directly after graduating from college.
Michael Levin – Michael is the company’s President. Michael handles the company’s day-in and day-out finances and matters of legality. Michael is the grandson of the late Michael Levin (founder), the son of Martin Levin (second generation), and the father of Margie Fischman. Michael joined M. Levin after first practicing law.
Joel Segel – Joel is the potato, onion, apple and citrus buyer and salesman. Joel brings in rail cars of potatoes and onions daily. Joel is the grandson of Michael Levin (founder), the son of Florence Segel (nee Levin), and the father of Brenda Segel. Joel joined M. Levin after his days at Penn State/
The Fourth Generation
Margie Fischman – Margie is involved with M. Levin’s Tropical Division. Margie is the great-granddaughter of Michael Levin (founder), the granddaughter of Martin Levin (third generation), and the daughter of Michael Levin. Margie joined the family business after first teaching in the Philadelphia School District.
Sarah Levin – Sarah is involved in M. Levin Banana Ripening Program and works alongside her father. She is involved with the daily ripening and distribution of bananas. Sarah is the great granddaughter of Michael Levin (founder), the granddaughter of Martin Levin (third generation), and the daughter of David Levin. Sarah joined the family business in 2009 after graduating from West Chester University.
Tracie Levin – Tracie is involved with M. Levin’s new business development and is involved with overseeing the daily operations of the company. She has been involved with both United Fresh and PMA’s emerging leaders programs. Tracie is the great granddaughter of Michael Levin (founder), the granddaughter of Leon Levin (third generation), and the daughter of Mark Levin. She joined M. Levin in 2006 after graduating from the University of Delaware.
Brenda Segel – Brenda works in M. Levin’s inventory control. Brenda is the great granddaughter of Michael Levin, the granddaughter of Florence Segel, and the daughter of Joel Segel.
Meet the Sales Team
Joe has been with the Company for 28 years and can be found on the sales floor between 2 and 3 AM. He sells Bananas, Pineapples, Berries, Cherries and Melons. Outside of work he can be found bartending and watching college sports. His favorite movie is G.I. Jane and his favorite produce item is: Eggplant.
Bill has been working at M. Levin for 53 years and comes in between 2 and 3 AM on a regular basis. He buys and sells all tropical fruit and produce. He enjoys being able to buy and sell and loves seeing the new tropical items that we’ve added to our line since he began his career here. Outside of work he can be found watching television (especially college sports), his favorite movie Casablanca, and eating pasta. He loves all fruits and vegetables equally, he couldn’t pick just one!
Margie has been with the Company for 23 years and she is involved in our Tropical division. She buys and sells our line of tropical drinks as well as other specialty tropical items. Her favorite part about working in the produce industry is learning about new items. The biggest change she’s seen since starting here has been the growth in the tropical produce division. The biggest challenge is the early hours that the produce industry is so accustomed to. Outside of work she enjoys going to the movies and sporting events, as well as taking road trips with her husband and her dog Penny. She loves the Philadelphia Phillies and can be found out at many games, especially those that allow her to bring her dog along! Her favorite produce item: Cherries.
Pete has been with M. Levin for 34 years and can be found selling Grapes, Peaches, Plums, Nectarines and Pomegranates on the sales floor at 3 AM. Believe it or not, his favorite part about working in produce is the early hours! Outside of work he can be found spending time with his Grandkids, watching his favorite movie A Few Good Men, and rooting on his favorite baseball team, The Philadelphia Phillies! He loves eating pasta and his favorite fruit is: Grapes!
Tropical SalesBrian has been with M. Levin for 32 years. You can find him on the sales floor at 3 AM where he buys and sells tropical items. His favorite part of working in the produce industry is the technology and the customers. Outside of work he can be found fishing, watching his favorite movie The Godfather, and rooting on his favorite home-town Hockey team, the Philadelphia Flyers! His favorite fruit is: Oranges.
Banana RipeningDavid buys the Bananas, ripens and sets the market for sales.
CEOMark has been in the business 41 years full-time and in reality, all his life. He is the CEO as well as a fruit and vegetable buyer and salesman. He buys the Grapes, Stone Fruit, Vegetables, Melons, Berries and Citrus. He enjoys the challenge of keeping fresh produce fresh by rapid turnover. The biggest change he’s seen here since beginning his career is the technology, first was pencil and paper, then fax and now email and text. The biggest challenge is being in a family business for 111 years! He says that work is his hobby. His favorite sports team is the Philadelphia Eagles and his favorite produce item is: Bananas!
Ryan joined the team in January of 2017 after leaving behind a career in the finance industry. He can be found on the sales floor between 2 and 3 AM on a regular basis. He is the Western Vegetable salesman. He loves interacting with the customers and the challenges that come along with making sales. Outside of work he can be found running, cycling, going to the beach, surfing and snowboarding. His favorite movie is Zero Dark Thirty and he loves eating pizza. His favorite fruit, it’s a tie: Bananas and Avocados.
Jeff has been at M. Levin for 22 years and can be found on the sales floor at 3 AM. He buys our Avocados and sells an assortment of items including but not limited to Peppers, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Apples, Oranges, Lemons, Potatoes, Yams, Onions, Avocados and Kiwi. His favorite part of working in the produce industry is the people. Outside of work he can be found eating seafood, rooting on the Philadelphia Eagles and watching his favorite movie Jaws. His favorite produce item: Avocados!
Joel buys and sells carlots of Potatoes and Onions as well as Apples and Citrus.