After 18 months of planning and months more of construction work, Capital City Fruit Co. plans to move into a new building in late October.

Chief operations officer Brendan Comito said the cost of the new 83,000-square-foot facility will be about $11 million. The new headquarters, which includes warehouse, packing and dock facilities, is about a mile from the existing Capital City facility in Norwalk, Iowa, about 5 miles south of Des Moines.

"We"ve got about 52,000 square feet here at the old place," Comito said Sept. 4, "but it was added on to so many different times it just wasn"t efficient."

The new facility will have nine dock doors for better logistics, which will be enhanced by the new location, which features a traffic signal to help trucks navigate into and out of the yard. The new building is along Highway 28, which is another plus, Comito said.

"We have been across the street from a high school and (related traffic) has made it difficult for trucks," Comito said. "At the new location we are in a developing business park, and they will be able to get in and out much quicker."

About 71,000 square feet of the new facility will be used for coolers, packing and production and dock activities. Comito said the new space can accommodate stacked pallets three high, which is a vast improvement compared with the current facility.

Comito said Capital City"s growing business made the new facility a necessity. Along with the new building comes additional staff and promotions for some existing employees.

Mike Ireland has been promoted to be the company"s business development manager. He was previously a product account manager for Capital City.

A new position of account manager was created and Erica Andersen is serving at that post. Marc Newman was hired in December as dock manager as the company anticipated additional traffic at the new facility. He previously worked for Menards.

New rank and file workers are also part of the Capital City operation, with a couple of new drivers, three new production line workers and three or four new dock workers already on staff in preparation for the move to the larger facility, Comito said.

New products are also available to Capital City"s customers, who are mostly in a 350-mile radius from the Norwalk, Iowa, operation. The company recently added six organic certified products:

  • four-packs of tomatoes
  • 20-ounce packs of roma tomatoes
  • a squash medley
  • four-packs of mixed bell peppers
  • 1-pint cherry tomatoes and
  • 1-pint grape tomatoes.

Comito said Capital City Fruit is also the licensed distributor this year for Handy Candy grape tomatoes, which it is packing in 4-ounce plastic resealable containers for retailers.