The production department at Capital City Fruit Co. ( Capital City Fruit Co. )

Norwalk, Iowa-based Capital City Fruit has added to its staff and produce offerings in 2019.

The company has added over 100 item codes in the past year to meet customer needs, said Brendan Comito, chief operations officer.

The company has close to a 50-50 balance of retail and foodservice sales, with foodservice sales increasing recently at a faster pace, he said.

Capital City has several innovation projects in the works, and Comito said one of those projects is selling fruit gift baskets direct to consumers on Amazon. First sales were recorded last fall and marketing efforts are picking up, he said.

“Now we’re in a phase where we’re trying to figure out how to market them, and make sure that people see it,” Comito said. “We think there is really good potential there.” 

The company has determined the best packaging for the summer months and the winter, Comito said.

The company also has made several operational improvements in the past year, Comito said. 

In May, the company added an inbound warehouse management system through Produce Pro. Then in August, Capital City Fruit added a food safety app to schedule and document its food safety tasks, Comito said. The company implemented a quality control app about a year ago, which Comito said has greatly enhanced the company’s inspections and reporting on the quality of the products it receives and ships.

In October, Capital City added the outbound warehouse management system, he said, which is expected to be fully operational by Nov. 1.

“We will be pretty much paperless and will be using scanners for pretty much everything that we do,” Comito said.

New staff added to the company in the past year or so include:

Bill Carlson, business development manager, with a focus on retail;

Emilee Stacy, business development administrative assistant;

Daniel Comito, warehouse clerk and fourth generation member of the Comito family;

Eric Gray, hired in 2018 as a quality control specialist and recently promoted to production supervisor;

Brenda Pearson, hired as director of human resources in late 2018, replacing Dennis Horrigan who retired after 13 years with the company;

Melanie Houck, production supervisor; 

Rachel Wilkens, quality control specialist;

Jim Barth, promoted to food and occupational safety specialist after five years with the company; and

Hannah Burke, hired in May as a marketing intern and remaining with the company after her internship.