Charlie’s Produce upgrades warehouse

Charlie’s Produce, a Seattle wholesaler, recently remodeled a warehouse building that it had formerly used for processing and shifted stocking and shipping operations for its retail segment into the building, which it calls
Warehouse 2, said Doug Huttenstine, executive vice president of sales.

“It has made it more efficient to separate our foodservice segment, which has remained in Warehouse 1,” Huttenstine said.

Charlie’s also plans to expand its Portland, Ore., facility in the near future, Huttenstine said.

“We have seen some growth there,” Huttenstine said.

Duck Delivery expands distribution center

Portland, Ore.-based Duck Delivery and United Salad Co., has expanded its Sumner, Wash., distribution facility.

The company renovated an expanded a facility it has operated for the last 15 years, in order to expand services northward into Canada, said Ernie Spada Jr., owner.

The 50,000-square-foot center, which operates as Duck Delivery Washington, is central to the company’s distribution network in Washington and Canada, said Ernie Spada Jr., owner.

“They don’t do southern Washington, because I do it out of Portland, but now we go into Canada, which we opened up with a corporate account about two months ago,” Spada said June 19.

Derek Reich, a 13-year employee, manages the Sumner operation, whose employee roster likely will jump from about 100 to about 160 workers when the company completes the hiring process, Spada said.

“We basically replaced the center in Sumner and added 35,000 square feet and married the two facilities together,” Spada said.

The project took three years from conception to completion, he said.

Spada declined to disclose the cost.

Organically Grown settles into new facility

Eugene, Ore.-based Organically Grown Co. has moved into a new 120,000-square-foot office-warehouse in Gresham, Ore., a suburb of Portland, said Tom Lively, senior salesman.

The move was completed in October, he said.

The new building has 20 dock bays and is entirely refrigerated, other than the offices, Lively said.

“That was a huge thing for us and has really cocked our pistol for growth for the next few years,” he said.

Growth already is noticeable, Lively said.

The company was in the process of installing a new warehouse management system in mid-June, Lively said.

Rinella Produce adds delivery routes

Portland, Ore.-based Rinella Produce has expanded its delivery routes and upgraded its services, said David Rinella, owner.

“A lot of people make cutbacks on routes and pull back on service, and we went the other way,” he said.

Rinella Produce now has a “coast route” that stretches about 150-160 miles, along which the company has added deliveries, Rinella said.

“We went from two days a week to three to five days a week to give better services and pick up more business,” Rinella said.

The change, which took effect in mid-June, brought immediate payback, Rinella said.

“Last week, for the first week, it seemed to do about $3,000 more gross sales and two or three new accounts because we’re paying more attention,” he said.

Sterino Farms Produce Market opens

Sterino Farms Produce Market reopened in a new 5,000-square-foot store May 1 in Puyallup, Wash.

The stand replaces one closed in 2006, when Sterino Farms closed it and sold the land.

Sterino Farms began operations 90 years ago when Michael Sterino immigrated to the U.S. The growing operation he started near Tacoma, Wash., is one of the region’s largest growers of produce for the region’s consumers of “homegrown” markets.

Sterino Farms encompasses 800 acres, with some in Fife, Wash. and Ording, Wash., about 15 miles away, said Tom Robb, sales director. Jake Sterino, great-grandson of the founder, runs the operation now, which sells berries, corn, pumpkins, lettuce, cabbage and other items to grocery store chains and independent markets from Canada to Portland, Ore.

CF Fresh becomes Viva Tierra

Sedro-Woolley, Wash.-based shipper CF Fresh, which specializes in organic fruit, has changed its name to Viva Tierra Inc.

The change, which occurred April 1, stems from the company’s desire to “consolidate its image,” said Matt Roberts, sales manager.

“We had different brands, different names,” he said.

There were no personnel changes, Roberts said.

“We’re solidifying our name, but we’ll still have labels for smaller growers,” he said.

Even as CF Fresh, the company for the last several years has packed its product chiefly under the Viva Tierra label, anyway, Roberts said.

“It was just time to bring it all together. People did not know who CF Fresh was anymore,” he said.