The Martinous Family produce business was started in 1911 by Farris Martinous when he arrived in the country at the age of 23 from Syria. Four generations later, the Martinous Family business is as strong as ever with many new opportunities on the horizon.
In the second generation the Martinous Family business had a great deal of growth. Martinous Brothers Produce Company was founded by John and Raymond Martinous shortly after John returned from World War II.
In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s the Martinous Brothers would travel to different growing areas in Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, loading up their not always so dependable bobtail van trucks with strawberries, apples, peaches, tomatoes, and other seasonal produce. They would then return to the Joplin City Market and sell some of their produce to other peddlers and retail stores.
As time passed the brothers decided to try and expand their short line of seasonal produce to include staple items such as head lettuce, oranges, and grapefruit.
While many items could be picked up at the Joplin City Market or at other wholesale houses, John and Raymond had no place to store the temperature sensitive produce.
In the mid 1950’s, the brothers converted some garage-type storage buildings behind their mother’s house at 503 North Grand into three coolers: one for tomatoes, one for potatoes, and one for everything else.
In 1961, John and Raymond bought the John Joseph property located at East Seventh and North Michigan Street in Pittsburg, KS. There they built larger coolers and began to expand their produce line. In 1971 they built an 8,100 square foot warehouse at 703 North Michigan and in 1975 they added another 8,100 square feet to house their growing retail and food service business.
2nd, 3rd and 4th Generation
3rd and 4th Generation
Changes came with the third generation of the family business. After John’s death in 1978, Raymond and Farris, John’s youngest son, became partners. Although Martinous Brothers Produce sold food service to retail customers for over 30 years, in 1980 it began to concentrate on retail trade only.
Still going strong and expanding again in the fourth generation. On December 7, 1989, Martinous Brothers Produce became Martinous Produce Company Inc. Five years later in 1994 Raymond retired and Farris, with his wife Mary Carol, became the owners. Over the next few years Farris and his son, Paul, continued to acquire new customers and explore new areas.
By the turn of the new century it became apparent that the facility at seventh and Michigan just wasn’t large enough or adequate for the changing and demanding produce industry. The advent of processed salads and fresh cut fruit made it necessary to have a facility with a climate controlled atmosphere. In August of 2003 Martinous Produce moved into a 38,500 square foot facility at its current location, 3510 North Lonestar Road in the Pittsburg Industrial Park. The entire warehouse area is refrigerated to ensure that the “cold chain” required for heat sensitive cut fruits and vegetables, is kept intact. The new facility has also allowed Martinous to enlarge their “Nature’s Glory” repacking program. In 2012, Paul wanted Martinous Produce to go back to its roots and become a larger part of the local and surrounding communities. In cooperation with his father, Farris, he launched two new divisions: Fruitoramma Fundraising and the Naked Fruit Company, two companies that will lead Martinous Produce on a journey back to its roots. Roots of sharing its passion for top quality produce with anyone who enjoys great taste!
It is not very common to see a company being passed on to a fifth generation. For the Martinous family though, produce is what they know, it’s who they are, and it’s their passion to share with world. The passing of generations speak to the integrity and adaptability of the Martinous brand and more importantly its name. With the support from Farris’ wife, Mary Carol, son Paul, daughter Maria, and their families, Martinous Produce Company plans to prosper into the fifth generation.