Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Mariani Packing begins celebration

By Catherine Moy/Special to The Reporter

Vacaville's Mariani Packing Company begins its celebration of 100 years in business tonight with a dinner for the family who helped build the company that now sells dried fruit to nearly 90 percent of United States supermarkets.

Paul A. Mariani Sr. started the business in 1906 after moving from the Mediterranean region to the Bay Area. He treated employees as family, many of whom worked for the company for years, said Mark. A. Mariani, Pauls grandson who now heads the company as chairman/CEO.

"A family business can only survive on trust," Mark Mariani said.

Mariani is truly a family business. Mark Mariani works with his cousin, company President George Sousa Sr., and George Sousa Jr., vice chairman. Four generations have worked from fields to boardrooms to strengthen and expand the company's international reach.

"We all have to work together. We just contribute differently," Mark Mariani said.

Mariani Packing moved its headquarters to Vacaville in 2001 because of the city's great business atmosphere and the availability of affordable housing for employees, Mark said.

The company moved into the plant that was previously home to American Home Foods. It also has plenty of room to expand into the future. The company has five plants - four in California and one it opened in Thailand last year.

As the largest independent dried fruit processor in the world, Mariani Packing processes more than 125 million pounds of dried fruit each year.

"We really want to thank the people here in Vacaville for welcoming us," Mariani said.

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