Berry People Expands to Support Steady Growth
- by Anne Allen
HOLLISTER, CA - Expansion efforts can take on many forms. For Berry People, its most recent expansion effort is centered around beefing up its team and operations. The year-round, full-line shipper of organic and conventional berries and avocados has created new positions within its organization, added team members, and moved operations to a larger central California office to accommodate this growth.
"We are thankful to be an essential part of the nation’s food supply chain, allowing us to support the people in our Berry People community, including our growers, employees, customers, and consumers," said Jerald Downs, President, speaking of the worldwide effects of COVID-19. "We’re assessing the short- and long-term effects of the pandemic, and taking measures to manage business risk, while also ensuring the safety of our field labor, consumers, and everyone in between. Our cloud-based and mobile work environment allow us to continue the quality of service that our buyers and growers expect, and we are effectively managing our supply-chain to support the market’s demands."
These business moves are consistent with the company’s long-term strategic plan for continual expansion since launching in 2017.
According to a press release, recent key hires include the addition of an ERP-process analyst, financial controller, and regional supply managers.
"These specialized roles improve functional efficiency, optimize deployment of resources, tighten risk management, and deepen relationships with growers and suppliers," said Michael Osumi, Vice President of Supply-Operations.
While many of Berry People’s staff are currently working remotely, these efforts to accelerate expansion are expected to help the company navigate this challenging time.
"Strong core values and a clear company vision support our intentional organization and job design, so our valued team members convey a unified brand promise to our service providers and customers," said Downs. "These characteristics support our ‘unity in diversity’ philosophy, leaning into each other’s strengths toward a common goal. Our growth and building balance sheet also enable us to increase our investment activity in technology, genetics, and packaging innovation, which supports our long-term growth and profitability."
Damon Barkdull, Senior Commodity-Sales Manager, added, "As we approach our third full year in business, our customers can increasingly rely on us for substantially increased volume coverage, and improved continuity across the entire berry and avocado categories, materially reducing the seasonal gaps that are common with young companies like ours. With strong business results and overwhelmingly positive customer feedback to date, we never stop looking for better ways to anticipate needs and shorten response times."
Berry People and its alliance partners have operations in California, Mexico, Chile, and Peru. The company offers year-round availability of organic and conventional strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and avocados through the Berry People and Avo People brands.
"As we build financial strength, we plan to build our ‘social balance sheet’ as well, increasing our position in and commitment to both the marketplace, and to the communities we work in," concluded Downs. "We look forward to giving back to the stakeholders that have embraced our organization, appreciating the fact that we’re a company whose growth is driven fundamentally by trust."
Berry People’s short-term plans include the significant expansion of its summer organic strawberry program and a substantially increased position in the Peruvian avocado and blueberry industries.
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