A little more than a year ago, Sambrailo Packaging in Watsonville, CA, opened two new warehouses, one in Oxnard, CA, and one in Santa Maria, CA, to accommodate the company’s growing business in those areas. The expansion proved fruitful, allowing Sambrailo not only to better service customers in Southern California and the Central Coast, and also northern Baja California, Mexico, but also enabling the company “to expand our customer base” in those areas, according to Jim Scattini, vice president of sales and marketing.
“We’ve got a sales team dedicated to those territories and customer accounts,” he said. “We have been allowed to grow as our growers have expanded their growing base down in Southern California. Because we’ve got such good relationships, we continue to expand our business down south.”
Sambrailo, among other things, provides clamshells and trays to the fresh strawberry industry. The company’s proprietary and patented Maxim line of clamshells and trays, “which we are obviously very proud of, we feel is the Cadillac of the clamshells,” Mr. Scattini said.
When looking at a Mixim clamshell, “the first thing you notice is the clear and smooth side walls, which really help it pop out on the retail shelf,” he said. “It really looks nice and shows off your fruit.”
Another key feature is the positioning of the vents in the clamshells “and the venting system as it coordinates with the trays.” As the clamshells rest in the trays, the vent holes punched in the trays “are aligned with the vents in the clamshell,” he said.
The clamshells have arched bottoms “that have venting on the base of the clam,” and there is also venting in the sides of the lid and the hinge. “Through research and testing, we have showed that it cools quicker and maintains greater air circulation during transit, and that makes for longer shelf life and better product in the consumer’s refrigerator,” he said.
Sambrailo makes the Mixim clamshells in one-pound, two-pound and four-pound sizes for strawberries. “The one-pounder is really the anchor,” Mr. Scattini said. “That is where your volume is.” The company also still offers 12x20 inch trays with mesh baskets, “but it is basically a clamshell business now.”
In addition to providing the clamshells and trays, Sambrailo offers customers a range of related services. Among them, Mr. Scattini said, are labeling, field estimates, warehousing and distribution, “and we do any kind of tracking system that they have. That is more and more an important part of all produce, really,” not just strawberries. “We are well versed in all the different systems. We ultimately do what [each] shipper wants us to do, so we have had to learn the different ones.”