SANTA MARIA, Calif. — For strawberry grower-shipper Main Street Produce Inc., a new label, major construction and more acreage are just the opening salvo in a year of changes.
“After 20 years of the same logo, the look and appearance of our boxes has changed,” said Paul Allen, owner.
“We’ve redesigned the Main Street Farms logo and we’re also adding another label, Easy Street.”
Main Street Farms is the primary label, while Easy Street offers an alternative that a same-city competing customer, for example, might opt for.
On April 1, Main Street Produce planned to open a 17,000-square-foot cooling facility in Santa Maria. It will provide five loading docks and more cooling space, holding racks and staging areas.
Five years in the planning, it doubles overall capacity to about 35,000 square feet. To make room, the company demolished a 5,000-square-foot site built in 1983 by Allen and his late father, Alton.
“It allows for increased efficiency of loading, cooling and receiving,” Allen said.
Beyond its own product, the company also does some cooling for Salinas-based Colorful Harvest and Guadalupe-based Beachside Produce LLC.
It’s no coincidence that Main Street Produce is also increasing its acreage by 30% this year.
“It was time to step up and do more,” Allen said.
“There are new customers wanting to work with us, but we just didn’t have much volume in the past. We’re getting into Costco and some others. Demand was pretty good last year. We knew we’d have an expanded cooler (available) this winter so we went ahead and increased our acreage.”
Main Street Produce harvests fresh strawberries from February to the end of December. The company also grows and ships broccoli.
- A redesign of the company’s website, www.mainstreetproduce.com, scheduled for mid-March.
- The addition of a new salesman, Lou Chenault, to help move the new volume. Chenault, who was scheduled to start March 15, formerly worked for Placentia-based Sunrise Growers.
- Increasing exports to clients in France and Singapore from occasional shipments to a weekly basis.
- The expected awarding of a PrimusGFS certification.
“We’ll have it by the end of March,” Allen said in late February.
“The major chain stores like Wal-Mart are starting to ask for that, the traceability aspect of it. You have to have traceability of every clamshell to where it was picked. A scanning procedure is done here and in the field the day they’re picked. We’re doing the training and getting it all together right now.”