reap the benefits of e-commerce. The fact that the Web reduces time and the costs of the business cycle makes it a valid alternative for transacting business in the produce industry in much the same way it has benefited the steel and other traditional industries.” How will ProduceOnline.com translate this into traffic to its site rather than those of the competition? With its PRO*ACT partnership as the first pillar, the company’s strategy includes securing additional alliances with other companies whose expertise can serve the produce market. For example, ProduceOnline.com recently formed an alliance with CSC Consulting, an expert in technology system integration for large companies that has built more than 25 other b-to-b sites. CSC will aid in the site’s development by creating a “complete supply-chain solution.” ProduceOnline.com is also set to announce a new partnership with Meyer Tomatoes L.L.C., a major tomato and fresh vegetables supplier that will use the site to sell its products to the variety of wholesalers and retailers with whom Meyer does business.
“It’s not a winner-take-all situation,” says Dahlman. “Not in this business-or there would only be one supermarket, food distributor, etc. But we also don’t know if it will be 30 to 40 different players. A lot depends on how quickly the sites consolidate.”
All of which gives James a reason to keep an ear to the ground for developments in his old industry, produce, and his new one, the Internet. His advice for budding entrepreneurs? “Keep your eyes open to the changes happening around you. The Net will affect every business.”