“We were the first company to have a full season program out of Mexico from two locations, each with its own water plants,” Chris Ciruli said.
Now 66, Charles Ciruli Jr. is in the office daily. He still enjoys working with vegetables and their growers, but his passion has become mangoes.
“It’s what he takes the most pride in,” Chris Ciruli said. “It’s what he really likes — spending time at the sheds, in the fields, with the growers.”
Not all of Charles Ciruli Jr.’s efforts over the years have been devoted entirely to his company.
“He saw the future of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas and worked tirelessly on its behalf,” Chris Ciruli said.
He was the driving force for more than a decade on the National Mango Board, serving as its first president. After struggling with small budgets, Charles Ciruli Jr. took it upon himself to reach out to competitors to secure the funds necessary to make the mango industry a success.
“He has an incredible vision of what can be, and he’s an incredible salesman,” Chris Ciruli said. “He can sell a concept or a product.”
As Ciruli Bros. marks its 60th anniversary, it has evolved from a brokerage to a grower-shipper serving third and fourth generations of customers.
As for his father’s greatest accomplishment, “It would be a toss up whether it was building the mango category or the Boys and Girls Club,” Chris Ciruli said.
Ciruli Bros. need not search for future leadership. Chris Ciruli, and his brother, Charles Ciruli III, already handle much of the day-to-day duties.