Alphas Co. expands Asian, Indian lines

Yanni Alphas, president and chief executive officer of The Alphas Co., Chelsea, Mass., said his company expects to ship 50% more Indian and other Asian vegetables this year than last year.

No one item from either category is performing particularly well, Alphas said — sales gains are strong across the board.

Launched in 2009, The Alphas Co.’s East Asian and Indian lines feature a variety of eggplants and squashes and Thai chilies among their top-selling items.

While the names wouldn’t suggest it, many of the vegetables in the line come from New England, not East Asia or India, Alphas said.

That could be especially true this summer, given high fuel costs, he said.

The Alphas Co. expects 2012 to be its top summer ever for vegetables sourced in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Delaware, Maryland and Canada, and East Asian and Indian vegetables are expected to be among the big sellers, Alphas said.

Mutual Produce duo create new company

Richie Travers and Paul Travers, longtime co-owners of Chelsea, Mass.-based Mutual Produce Inc., have started their own company, also on the New England Produce Center terminal market.

Travers Fruit Co. opened its doors in October, said Richie Travers, the company’s treasurer and secretary. Paul Travers is the company’s president.

In 2001, the Travers brothers and Tom Ciovacco Sr. and Tom Ciovacco Jr. bought Mutual Produce from Lewis Gussman.

All four had been with the company for more than 20 years at the time of the purchase.

“We’ve been at it for a long time — Paul for 30 years, me for 32 years — and we decided to take the plunge and branch out on our own,” Richie Travers said.

Travers Fruit operates six refrigerated bays in a facility formerly occupied by State Garden Co. Inc., which outgrew its space on the terminal and moved one-quarter of a mile away, Travers said.

By about the end of March, Travers Fruit expects to have four additional bays fully refrigerated.

The company specializes in grapes, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, pineapples, plums, peaches and other fruits.