South East Asia Produce (SEAP) was established as a wholesale business within the Melbourne Market in 1993 by current Director Van Nguyen and four partners. Over the last 20 years, the company has expanded to include five stores, accommodating Sydney and the surrounding area, and transporting their products from farms in Darwin and Lockyer Valley. Since the expansion, however, management has been a solo operation for Nguyen, as his partners sold their shares to him following SEAP’s growth within the industry.
The company provides plenty of exotic produce varieties that are locally grown, but they also import their product from several parts of Asia – both outlets maintain quality control standards, and the product is sorted to ensure that customers receive the best condition possible. Among SEAP’s fruit products are longan, lychee, mango and mangosteen, fresh young coconut, Nashi pear, guava, persimmon, papaya, dragonfruit, kiwi, and jackfruit; their available vegetables consist of okra, bitter gourd, sweet potato, shallots, taro and lotus roots.
SEAP’s commitment to their customers is to provide their “knowledge, skills and expertise in quality tropical fruits and vegetables combined with dedication, honesty and excellence”; this allows them to “deliver and provide the best product and service to [their] valued customers and to the market.”
Also an avid member “within the chamber of the wholesale markets,” SEAP increases their awareness of the yearly changes within the industry by attending most of the meetings held at the Annual General Meeting (AGM), Nguyen believes that the major aspect of survival is the retailer’s perceptions and ability to move a company’s product. “If there’s more retailers, and they don’t survive there, it reduces our numbers.”
Going forward, his main goal is to promote growth in SEAP’s relationships with its suppliers. “A lot of farmers are struggling in terms of what they grow, and try to get,” he says. “So, we mainly try to cooperate with them, say what to grow for what season and also the quality there. How that improves as we go along.”