“Awesome store, I love it,” said Kim Albertson of Port Orange. “This is my new favorite place. The prices are great. Everything is amazing. The vegetables are the freshest I have ever seen, even the bagged carrots. It’s just amazing in here.”
Ms. Albertson is referring to newest location for Perrine’s Produce at 3826 S. Clyde Morris Blvd. in Port Orange. A soft opening was Nov. 8, Arnold Perrine’s birthday, with the official grand opening slated for Nov. 23. A wine tasting event will be Nov. 21.
Perrine’s Produce started in 1986 in Titusville when Daytona Beach Shores residents Arnold and Dianna Perrine sold a truckload of watermelons out of the back of a pickup truck. The weekends-only summer business grew into what are now three established Volusia County locations with Port Orange the newest. The others are in Ormond Beach (established 2016) and New Smyrna Beach (established 1998). There had been a South Daytona location, which was never rebuilt after damage from Hurricane Matthew.
The 35,000-square-foot Port Orange store will serve as a base of operation for the other locations. When fully staffed, the store expects to have 70 new hires with 54 already employed. Already known for fresh fruits and vegetables, the location also offers meat and seafood along with a bakery and ice cream, including soft serve, gelato and Dole whips, in addition to an excellent selection of wines and a wide variety of Amish products.
Mr. Perrine said this is their biggest venture by far.
“We are at The Pavilion (at Port Orange) on Saturdays. We did excellent there. It seemed like there was a market for that,” he said. “We’ve been looking for a big place for years and this became vacant, so we jumped on it. We signed the lease Nov. 8 last year, opened Nov. 8 this year.
“We carry a lot of stuff from the Amish country. Produce is where we started, it’s what we know and what we do best. That’s our biggest draw. We have a full meat counter and we carry all types of meats,” Mr. Perrine said. “We have a lot of different wine. We have fresh seafood out of New England. We also buy (fresh, wild caught and chemical free) local shrimp to sell here and we have a full-scale bakery now. We’re here to serve. I’ve never known a customer to be wrong in 35 years.”
He added customers may also request items they don’t see and they will try to obtain them.
Mr. Perrine was an engineer for NASA, including the Space Shuttle program and doesn’t plan on giving up his 16-hour workdays he shares with his wife anytime soon. “I’m just ambitious. I love to stay busy,” he said.
The Perrines have been married 41 years. Dianna Perrine said, “Junior will never retire. We had actually looked at this place before we opened Ormond, but at that time it wasn’t available. I think it will do great here. People are really happy. The owners of the property (just) renamed it Perrine Plaza. That was sweet. Since 1998 we have been working together every day.”
The Perrines have four children and eight grandchildren.
A third partner has joined the Perrines, Stanton “Trey” Renfroe, 33, who started working for them at age 15 in 2002 at the New Smyrna store. “I was just coming after school and helped clean and close up in the afternoons and I stayed with them,” Mr. Renfroe said. “I finished college in 2008 and saw a lot of ways we could grow the business. I am excited myself about it. It’s a big venture for us but I think it’s a calling the Port Orange community has wanted and needed. I see it as the start of the new Perrines. Each time we’ve taken a baby step. When we opened Ormond that was big for us. I kind of see this as the flagship. We are excited to build a team here and to continue building relationships with people for years.”
He added they can be competitive with the chain stores while doing it with a family touch. That includes the iconic “Big Blue” truck parked inside the store.
“The Perrines are great people. They want to build a business to honor the community,” Mr. Renfroe said. “They are amazing mentors. They’ve taught me so much to carry on for the future. I don’t think we are done growing. I’m excited to excel in all the departments the way we have in produce.”
Employees all wear similar T-shirts.
Dennis Dolbow is manager of the Port Orange store.
“The uniqueness is the customer service we are going to offer and the fresh products we are going to offer,” Mr. Dolbow said. “It’s fresh with a lot of local produce. The personal service (customers) are going to get is above and beyond anywhere that the customers in this area are going to find.”
All Perrine’s Produce locations are open every day except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. For more information, visit perrinesproduce.com.