Welcome to Island Natural
Island Natural is a New York based natural products sales and distribution company boasting the top product introduction team in the North Eastern region of the United States. Our strategically located distribution facility enables us to deliver to our accounts faster than any other major distributor. We pride ourselves in offering a broad selection of brands; including the top selling lines within the industry, as well as many new and exciting product lines.
Our customers include groceries, supermarkets, natural food and gourmet stores, pharmacies, food co-ops, and restaurants among others. Island Natural’s mission is to be the standard bearer in the New York Metro market for providing its customers with a wide range of the highest quality natural and organic products, along with superior personalized service and often next day delivery. It is for this reason that when manufacturers (both new and established) from around the country want to introduce their products into this market, they most often look to
Island Natural to provide them with that service.
The Island Advantage
Island Natural is the only company in the New York Metro Market offering the services of both a brokerage and a distributor. We have the unique ability to introduce and grow a brand in the most valuable market in the world. With over 30 years of experience, our understanding, approach, service, and expertise are unmatched.
We like to differentiate ourselves by providing a level of customer service that we feel is unparalleled in our industry. Our sales team consists of seasoned professionals. They are drawn from the worlds of sports nutrition and natural and gourmet foods; both retail and wholesale. They have long backgrounds in retail sales, operations and distribution. We encourage relationships where our salespeople function as an important asset to a retailer’s operation. They not only can offer retailers a wide array of high quality, exciting and innovative products, but also advise their accounts on what is trending in the industry- what’s hot and what’s not. This can be invaluable when a retailer is confronted by the challenges of limited space and dollars.
It is said that a person is known by the company he keeps. In the same way, who a company uses as its resources and who they do business with largely defines who they are and how they will fare in the marketplace. When you do business with Island Natural, you are tapping into a company with a vast network of resources in the natural products world. We have a reputation for a level of service that is unequalled. As Jerry Garcia once said: “You do not merely want to be considered just the best of the best. You want to be considered the only ones who do what you do.”
Paul BurstynPresident and Founder
For Paul Burstyn, Island Natural is a labor of love. Paul became fascinated with natural products during his college years. In 1970, he joined and later managed a food co-op that was an offshoot of a college course called "community building" at Richmond College in Staten Island. It was there that he got his first exposure to the world of natural health and the fledgling natural products business.
After graduating from college, Paul worked in various capacities in the natural products industry- first as a store manager in a health food store in Brooklyn, then as a salesman for a small wholesale distributor.
Teaming up with his father Adam, Paul started Island Natural in 1979. Utilizing his passion for natural foods, industry experience and expertise, Paul developed Island Natural into a major distributor of natural products in the New York metro area.
To this day, Paul enjoys working closely with customers and vendors, seeking out new ventures under the Island Natural umbrella. Within the natural products industry, there are many companies that produce a wide variety of exciting and high quality products. Paul's passion is to locate the most exciting, interesting, and innovative natural products, and deliver them to Island Natural’s valued customers.
In his private life, Paul is an avid music fan. He enjoys playing the piano as well as following a broad array of rock, jazz, and blues musicians. Additionally, Paul enjoys playing racquetball and spending time with his two sons Jeremy and Matthew.
Fave Product: “Hands down it has got to be Kensington Farms Apple Sauce. The secret is in the chunks!”
Rob MettersSales Representative-Brooklyn and Queens
Rob Metters has been servicing Brooklyn for Island Natural over the past 15 years. In this time, Rob has "ridden the wave” of Brooklyn’s transformation, from primarily a residential backwater to a borough that contains the "hippest" neighborhoods in the country. In this time he has helped supermarkets, delis, gourmet stores and pharmacies stock the appropriate products to service this new retail environment.
Rob lives in a New Jersey suburb with his wife and children. He has been a vegetarian for most of his life. His personal interests are in Tai Chi Chuan and traditional Chinese medicine.
Fave Product: “My favorite product at Island Natural is Amy and Brian’s coconut water (with pulp). It’s the best tasting coconut water on the market!”
Greg CuocoSales Representative-Manhattan and Queens
Greg Cuoco grew up in the specialty/ natural food business. Greg's grandfather started Melba Food Specialties in 1942 and pioneered the distribution of specialty foods in the NYC metro area. Working for many years selling, consulting with customers, sourcing out and creating new products, Greg covered all aspects of specialty and natural food distribution. Later on, he earned the title of National Sales Manager in the truffle business by helping to market and expand the awareness and distribution of these high end products. Lured by the fantastic array of products at Island Natural and a chance to bring such healthy, natural and organic products to retailers in the NYC area is what led Greg to join the team at Island Natural in January of 2010.
About his new as well as long-time customers; "Educating retailers who have not had an opportunity to sell many natural and organic items helps them not only grow their business but provide a positive healthy lifestyle for their customers."
With a long history of music in his family, Greg developed a passion for music at a young age. While at Hartwick College, Greg ran the campus radio station. In the early 90s, Greg became involved in creating and DJ’ing dance music, a passion he continues to pursue to this day. Greg also enjoys fishing, cooking and writing.
Fave Product: “My favorite product is Naked Granola. Low in sugar, mostly organic, extremely healthy and great tasting, what more can you want?”
Dawn FavaleSales Representative-Manhattan and The Bronx
Dawn Favale is the newest member of the Island Natural Sales team; she started working for the company in July of 2010. With over 20 years of experience in the natural food industry. She shares our passion for natural and organic foods. Dawn started out in her father’s health food store when she was 12 years old and has been dedicated to natural and organic foods ever since. Previous to Island Natural, she was the manager and whole foods buyer of a natural foods grocery store in Brooklyn for more than 15 years.
Dawn has extensive knowledge of health and nutrition and loves working with the public and educating people about natural and organic foods.
When she's not working Dawn loves to keep active, she enjoys the outdoors and spends her time with her husband biking or just taking long walks. she is also an animal lover: she rescued two dogs and three cats over the years; she loves caring for and spending time wth them; they are the loves of her life.
Fave Product: “My favorite Island Natural product is Amy and Brian's all natural coconut juice; I love coconut juice and Amy and Brian's is the absolute best tasting coconut juice on the market today!”
Susie SoricOffice Manager and Accounting
Prior to working here at Island Natural, Susie worked for many years at a Vitamin manufacturer before she decided to change her career by going to work for a bank. After a number of years working in banking Susie began working for Island Natural in December 2008 in the Accounts Payable Department. She is now the Office Manager at Island Natural’s offices in Astoria Queens. In her spare time Susie enjoys racquetball as well as a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking.
Fave Product: “My absolute favorite products at Island Natural are the Kind Bars.”
Peter BerelsonPurchasing Manager
Peter Berelson brings a wealth of experience to his position as Buyer for Island Natural. He is a 30 year veteran of the Natural Products Industry. Peter started out as a store manager for GNC, then owned his own health food distribution company which specialized in refrigerated products. He has been involved in all facets of the industry including retail, wholesale and manufacturing. This is Peter’s second stint at Island Natural. The first time around, he was an outside sales rep for 10 years. Today, Peter is charged with keeping over 200 product lines in stock. He is the go-to guy for any information related to product status.
Outside the office, Peter loves movies and musicals from the Golden Age of Hollywood, the 30s to the 60s. One of his favorite sayings is that “Everything old is new again”. His favorite hobby is immersing himself in ways to empower people to truly pursue what they love and becoming abundant in all areas of their lives.
Fave Product: “I am familiar with every single item in Island Natural’s extensive offering. But if I had to choose a personal favorite, it would be the Apple Cinnamon Kind Bars. They are quite addictive!
Alex MollOffice Administration and Freight Management
“I have been with Island Natural since 2006. The past five years have provided me with an ongoing opportunity to learn many aspects of the natural food business. Mostly, I am proud to be able to work alongside such dedicated co-workers as we strive to serve our customers. Additionally, it has been interesting to learn about and enjoy the many great products Island Natural offers.’
‘Prior to coming to Island I attended Penn State University. Outside of Island, I enjoy various outdoor activities and spending time with friends and family.”
Fave Product: Michel and Augustin Raspberry Cookie Squares with bits of Pistachio- They are delicious! .”
Dave BerkeOperations Manager
Dave Berke has been the Operations and Warehouse Manager at Island Natural for over 15 years. Before Island, Dave gained many years of Distribution experience in such diverse fields as the Liquor industry, the Garment industry and the International Export industry. Dave has been part of Island Natural’s growth from a single shift to a two shift work day. He has also transitioned the warehouse workforce from a manual pick and pack operation to a computer driven bar code inventory system. Dave is responsible for all outbound deliveries of Island Natural’s products to its valued customers. He is also the coordinator for all inbound deliveries, as well as the hiring of warehouse personnel. Outside of Island Natural, Dave is an avid golfer. In addition to playing locally, he and his wife look forward to traveling and meeting the challenge of new courses. Dave’s other interests are following his favorite sports teams and being a volunteer firefighter.
Fave Product: "Without a doubt, my favorite product is Brent and Sam’s Cookies. They taste too good not to be homemade."
Drew GreensteinInventory Management
Previous to Island Natural, Drew worked in a law firm administrative position. In August 2010, Drew joined Island Natural as the Inventory Control Manager. Utilizing his customer service and PC skills, as well as his natural abilities as an effective communicator, Drew has become a true asset to the Island Natural team. Outside of Island, Drew is a movie and music buff. He loves all kinds of music from Classic Rock to Gangsta Rap. Drew loves meeting new people, and is also into spiritualism, astrology and self-improvement.
Fave Product: "My favorite products at Island Natural are the South of France soaps. They smell so great!"
Matthew BurstynSales Representative-Lower Manhattan
Matthew has been working on and off for Island Natural since he was in high school. He has stocked shelves and put orders together, worked in receivables, marketing, and catalog preparation. He is excited to be a member of the sales team and looks forward to working with accounts to provide the best quality food to the most vibrant city.
Fave Product: Matthews favorite product that Island Natural carries is Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap, it tingles so good.