Pinto Bros. founder remembered

Angelo “Pete” Penza, 80, died Feb. 6.

Penza founded Philadelphia-based Pinto Bros. Inc. in 1972 with Louis Penza Sr., who died in 2001, and Andrea Lombardo, who died in 2005.

The Navy veteran is survived by wife Linda (Vecchione), sons Fred Penza and Mark Penza and five grandchildren.

Angelo Penza was remembered during Feb. 11 services in Mount Laurel, N.J.

Though his uncle officially retired in 2011, Louis Penza Jr., a partner in the business, said Angelo Penza worked to the day he entered the hospital in June 2011, where he remained for a long illness.

“He just loves the industry and the excitement of it,” Louis Penza said. “He loved making the deal. He had great integrity. If he made a promise, he always kept it. He held things to very high standards.”

In other news, Pinto Bros. is expanding into avocados.

The company specializes in mangoes, red peppers, broccoli crowns and is becoming more involved in Peruvian avocados, said Todd Penza, salesman. Costa Rican pineapples are also new, he said.

Quaker City Produce broadens line

Quaker City Produce Co., Philadelphia, is expanding its product line into more fruit.

Jimmy Storey, president and owner, said the company began offering cherries, grapes, oranges and pears in April.

“We had to diversify because business is so tough these days,” Storey said. “It has really helped us out. It’s kind of pulled us out of the doldrums.”

With operating expenses at the new terminal market higher than at the older market, many companies need to increase sales to cover operating costs, Storey said.

Ryeco adds unit, four salesmen

Ryeco Inc., Philadelphia, expanded its floor space and brought in new salesmen and managers.

The distributor in July acquired two units formerly occupied by the Thomas Colace Co. LLC, which is owned by Immokalee, Fla.-based Lipman.

To help with the expansion, Ryeco brought in salesmen and mangers who used to work for Colace.

Brothers Ken Sanger and Kevin Sanger work as Ryeco’s night and day managers while Rich Mastero and Sean Storey work in sales.

Each has 20 years of sales experience, said John DiFeliciantonio, market board secretary and Ryeco partner.

“The managers are highly experienced and hard-working, highly motivated guys,” he said. “The sales people have a lot of customers and have brought a lot of hothouse peppers and cucumbers.

“It’s a big boost in volume and has added to our customer base.”

John Vena adds avocado rooms

On June 1, John Vena Inc., Philadelphia, began ripening its own avocados.

The specialties distributor installed three modern ripening rooms.

Though Vena Inc. sold avocados for 20 years, it counted on its supplier partner, West Pak Avocado Inc., Temecula, Calif., to ship preconditioned and green fruit, said John Vena Jr., resident.

Vena also plans to ripen fruit for West Pak’s customers and West Pak plans to use the ripening rooms as a forward distribution facility for East Coast shipments, Vena said.

“The growth of the avocado business for sure will be in preconditioned fruit,” Vena said. “This allows us to offer all sizes, bulk and bagged.”

Vena handles Mexican hass avocados as well as Dominican Republic and Florida fruit.