( Logo courtesy Keith Connell Inc. )

With offices in Kansas City and Nogales, Ariz., Keith Connell Inc. is expanding its reach throughout the nation.

With headquarters in Kansas City suburb Stillwell, Kan., the company also has a warehouse in and distributes Mexican produce from Nogales. 

The firm also runs a substantial watermelon deal with about 600 acres in Malden, Mo.

“Business in the Midwest is good, but we’re expanding around the country,” said Keith Connell, founder and co-owner of the company.

The firm’s top three commodities are tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, he said, although its brokerage services cover a wide range of commodities and markets.

The company, which celebrates its 40-year anniversary in August next year, employs about 30 people between its Kansas City and Arizona offices, he said.

In Nogales, the firm has one semi and four trucks it uses to collect produce from importers. 

Outside over-the-road trucking firms are used to deliver outbound produce to customers across the country.

Beginnings

When Keith Connell began the brokerage 40 years ago after leaving the Kansas City firm Brown & Loe, he said his firm’s business was mainly Kansas City; Wichita, Kan.; and Springfield, Mo.

“Now we are everywhere; we’ve got customers in New York, Canada, Cincinnati, everywhere. We are just trying to grow, get more business and being aggressive,” he said, noting recent new business in Oklahoma and Texas.

“That’s our philosophy right now, and it seems to be going pretty good,” he said.

Connell said the firm probably runs about 60% foodservice sales and 40% sales to retailers, he said.

Son of Jim Connell, the former long-time publisher of The Packer, Keith Connell, now 70, said his sons Jimmy, president, and Danny, vice president, are shareholders and active in the business.

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