New Website Delivers Food from Local Vendors

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – With the launch of a new website, area food vendors could have new avenues to reach customers and develop new partnerships with other businesses., launched Monday, was created by Danny Catullo, owner of Catullo Prime Meats, Dave Kiesh and Ross Morrone. The website offers food boxes from just a few vendors: Catullo Prime Meats, Stone Fruit Coffee Co., Land & Sea, Tommy’s Jerky and Smokies, and Silver Star Meats.

“We have suppliers that are local, which is what we want to do, but we don’t necessarily want to be a local marketplace company,” says Morrone, the chief media officer. “In this first phase, it’s mostly local vendors, but we will be adding more vendors as we go on.”

Among the current offerings are a breakfast box with bacon, coffee and bagels and a seafood medley box.

Creating the website and securing vendors took eight months, Morrone said. As the company grows and develops, he expects to add not only more wholesalers, but smaller companies as well. An example he offered is someone who makes baked goods using FoodECrave as his primary marketplace.

“We want to make it so any supplier can sign up and ship through the site,” he said.

The company, within the Youngstown Business Incubator portfolio, is a combination of the trio’s expertise, Morrone said. He has a background in marketing, while Kiesh works in logistics for the local Toys R Us operation. Catullo has been shipping food at his business nearly five years and occasionally works as a consultant for FedEx.

“Danny realized that a lot of suppliers are B2B and not many sell to customers directly,” Morrone explained. “He had the idea to do shipping for other businesses, but saw that they often said they either didn’t know how to do shipping or that customers didn’t have a way to find them.

What FoodECrave offers businesses is the combined package of a digital storefront, marketing and logistics. And for customers, the website is a one-stop shop for food packages.

“Where the Amazons and eBays of the world make their money is by having a big variety of people to choose from,” Morrone said. “By being able to produce these boxes, we can put vendors together with one another.”

For customers, Catullo explained, the site provides access to foods that would otherwise be out of their range. Through FoodECrave, someone in California can buy a Youngstown-made pizza or a Florida native who moved to Washington can buy their favorite saltwater taffy, he offered as possibilities.

“It’s all about creating access to food you otherwise couldn’t get,” he said. “A lot of places that produce great food aren’t necessarily suited to be able to ship that food to customers. It can be done, but it’s difficult for them.”

While the list of vendors is limited, Morrone said the company has a list of wholesalers it’s working with to offer products. FoodECrave is currently in talks with companies in Denver and Charleston, W.V., Catullo added. Further down the line, the website could expand to offer fresh ingredients and recipes for customers so they can order whole meals, he added.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.