Sunbury, Pa.-based Karpinski Trucking & Produce Inc. isn’t new to the produce industry, but it is new to the Peruvian onion deal.
The firm, which started in 1976 as a trucking company before expanding into produce brokering, bought DeBruyn Produce Co.’s Deerfield Beach, Fla., location in January 2012.
With it came Karpinski’s introduction to Peruvian onions.
Karpinski started taking over operations of the Deerfield Beach facility toward the end of the Peruvian deal and handled about 40-45 containers in 2012, sales manager Bryan Karpinski said.
“So far, it’s been really good,” he said. “There’s definitely a lot to learn. We started out and got our feet wet at the end of last year.”
This will be the first year in which the Karpinskis will get a feel for a full Peruvian sweet onion season, said Ralph Diaz, export and import sales manager.
The southern hemisphere onions fit well into the mix of produce items — including red, white and yellow conventional onions, asparagus, celery, carrots and corn — the firm already was brokering, Karpinski said.
The Deerfield Beach operation came with packing equipment, so Karpinski can offer customers various packs, including bulk and 2- and 3-pound consumer bags.
The acquisition meshes with the long-term diversification plans of Steve Karpinski, Bryan’s uncle and the company’s owner.
“As we were looking to expand our business and diversify and move into the next generation, it just looked like a good opportunity for us, and it was a good location,” Bryan Karpinski said.
“He (Steve Karpinski) knew that to keep moving on in this industry, you have to grow as the years go on.”
Diaz said he’s known Steve Karpinski for more than 15 years — first as a customer and then as a friend.
When an opportunity arose to purchase the Deerfield Beach location, Diaz said he mentioned it to Karpinski.
So far, Diaz said the deal has been great.
“It’s a good marriage,” he said. “Everything was in place — the whole operation. Nothing has really changed other than the ownership has changed.”
Karpinski also brings with it a fleet of 10-15 trailers.
In the past, DeBruyn outsourced its trucking needs.
Now, sales managers, such as Diaz, can offer customers help with logistics.
“You control your own fate,” he said. “We now have a sister trucking company that’s involved, and we can offer it to our customers.”
In addition, Karpinski has arrangements with several owner-operators as well as local logistics firms, Karpinski said.