(Jan. 3) William Manis Co. Produce Marketing’s new subsidiary has been a “rocket ship” since it opened, said Lloyd Rosen, vice president and marketing director of the Plant City, Fla.-based company.
Manis Logistics LLC opened Nov. 1 in Fredericksburg, Iowa.
The subsidiary is basically a truck brokerage, Rosen said. Matt Spafford, who has been handling William Manis’ trucking logistics for the past two years on a contract level, has taken over the subsidiary as vice president of logistics. Spafford operated his own company, Spafford Logistics, during that time.
“Matt was willing to give up some ownership in exchange for a much bigger business opportunity,” Rosen said.
Manis Logistics brings William Manis together with other companies that need time-sensitive products shipped, such as Hickory Farms and Madison Dairy, Spafford said. Trucks leave Iowa and the surrounding states with cheese, milk and other dairy products headed for Florida, for example, and come back with William Manis’ produce.
“In some instances, we now deliver to our customer’s customers, which has been a huge benefit for them,” Rosen said.
Prior to owning his own logistics company, Spafford worked in logistics and transportation for Hill & Dale Farms, New Kinsington, Pa., with an office in New Hampton, Iowa. Spafford and three others are handling operations of Manis Logistics.
Dan Halverson is the company’s dispatcher. He spent nine years as a driver for Mimh Transportation, Fort Atkinson, Iowa.
“Dan coordinates everything for me,” Spafford said. “He puts the routes together.”
Halverson joined William Manis in October to help get the company ready for launch. Tim Norton also joined the company in October to work on software and technology. He worked for Cherry Valley Express, Rockford, Ill., as a consultant before joining Manis.
Judy Feltz came on board Nov. 1 as a bookkeeper.
“Judy was working locally doing books,” Spafford said. “She helped do some of my books on a contract basis.”
Rosen said that although there are only four employees, they have relationships with agents who help them find materials.
“You either have a truck and need a load, or you have a load and need a truck,” Rosen said.
The business, in its two months of operation, has far exceeded the plan the company had for it, Rosen said.
“The benefits have been very rewarding, primarily in customer service, not to downplay the financial benefits,” Rosen said.
Manis Logistics specializes in shipments to the Midwest and to the south, although it can handle shipments to any of the 48 states in the continental U.S.