Cee Bee transfers leadership
A new generation now is leading Chicago-based trucking and logistics firm Cee Bee Cartage Inc., which is entering its 55th year of operation.
Brothers Tony Jr., Tim and Chris Capone are now running day-to-day operations of the company, with their father and company founder, Tony Sr., having lightened his role to a part-time basis, Tony Capone Jr. said.
The changes had been in motion over the past two years, but especially this year, the younger Capone said.
“Everybody has been working hard, and it’s given us an opportunity to grow,” he said.
“They handed us the ball: ‘Let’s see what they can do with it.’”
Tony Capone Sr. hasn’t backed away completely, his son said.
“He comes in once to twice a week, and we still get his advice — it helps the company grow,” he said.
“All of us are putting seven days a week in. It’s hard, but we have to do it because we had those lean years. It’s nice to see. It’s been rewarding. It’s nice to be involved with more action. The days just fly by.”
Cee Bee also was in the process in November of getting its trucks fitted with equipment to keep electronic logs for its drivers.
“It makes it a lot easier, because everything is all documented through e-log — your breaks, your hours,” Tony Capone Jr. said.
Coosemans Chicago hires, promotes staff
Nick Donofrio has returned to Coosemans Chicago Inc. to help run the day-to-day operations, said Mark Pappas, who owns the company.
Donofrio had left Coosemans about 11 years ago and had been with Chicago-based wholesaler Anthony Marano Co. Inc. for the past seven, Pappas said.
Donofrio returned to Coosemans in October, Pappas said.
“That’s been a very good addition,” he said. “He does sales, some buying. He’s a very good customer relations guy. He’s a very good facilities guy.”
In another personnel move, Coosemans Chicago gave salesman Doug Kawa more leadership with the company.
Kawa has been with the company for eight years, Pappas said.
“He’s still doing sales and running the board, as far as orders going out, but he has become our food safety manager and directs inventory control,” Pappas said of Kawa.
“He has taken more of an analytical approach. He monitors ... the inventory on the software, which is a big thing now. He monitors all our food safety, and we manage to always get a very high food safety score in our annual audit.”
J.L. Gonzalez expands products
Chicago-based wholesaler J.L. Gonzalez Produce Inc. had some major changes in 2017, mostly in increasing its offerings and expanding its product mix, said owner Jose Gonzalez Jr.
Mike Gentile joined the staff and led a significant expansion of its pepper department, Gonzalez said.
Wayne Passoff, who joined the company as sales director last year, has charge of the tomato department and has increased volume there, Gonzalez said.
“Long term, we would like to expand our offerings but grow them in an organic and sustainable way, so that we could retain stability,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez Produce continues to focus on fresh Mexican produce, maintaining relationships with vendors in Mexico and its sister company, Don Hugo Produce, in Texas near the border, Gonzalez said.
Local Foods mulls expansion
Local Foods, a Chicago-based wholesale distribution company that has its own retail outlet, is pondering an expansion, said Ryan Kimura, co-owner.
“We may look to expand produce refrigeration — and a misting system — in the near future,” he said.
Kimura also said that an expanded produce section, more fresh-cut and value-added produce and “more interaction points and education for produce and farmers” are under consideration.
Strube adds staff, updates IT systems
A fifth generation of the Strube family now is involved with Chicago-based wholesale distributor Strube Celery & Vegetable Co., said Rob Strube, president.
Strube’s son, Robert Strube IV, 25, is running the company’s front desk dispatch, the elder Strube said.
The younger Strube, known as R.J., is finishing a bachelor’s degree in business development, Rob Strube said.
Another addition is Ian Valentine, who handles information technology.
“He was working for one of our customers that closed down,” Rob Strube said of Valentine, who joined Strube Celery & Vegetable at the end of 2016.
He succeeded Tom Davidson, who retired after about 35 years with the company, Strube said.
More changes related to IT are coming to the company in 2018, he said.
“Next year is going to be a big year for us, since we’re going to be changing our computer system,” he said.
“R.J., Ian and Lisa Strube are looking at different systems now. Hopefully by the end of the year, they will have a final decision made and we’ll start getting that in place in January and February and hopefully have it running by July.”