Change and competition are nothing new to Joan Daleo, president of Ole Tyme, whose family has owned and operated the business since her father started it in 1973.
"In order to continue to grow, we have to ratchet up our efficiencies," Daleo
Growth also necessitates space - which is limited at Produce Row
"There are established dimensions here," Daleo
For example, Produce Row
"wasn't built with the idea of the modern floor jack in mind," Daleo
"When it was built in the 1950s, everything was done by hand."
With a new location, Daleo
envisions many improvements that are difficult to employ at Produce Row
, such as sealed floors, galvanized racking, wider aisles and better, more efficient cooling systems that will improve food safety.
also wants to see more organized product movement within the building.
"We could have much better flow and less cross-traffic if our produce goes to storage and then out that end of the building," Daleo
said, referring to the storage room area in the back of the building Daleo said she
worries about the labor market in St. Louis.
"We don't have a huge labor base in the city," she
"A move elsewhere could have the benefit of attracting more employees."
Despite such concerns, Daleo
said Ole Tyme
will probably not move outside the Interstate 270 ring, an expressway loop encircling St. Louis.
If the move proceeds, Daleo
will have to part with a significant portion of Ole Tyme's
After all, this is where Joan Daleo
went with her
father each Sunday morning as a child to help out around the building.
"I would leave every Sunday at 5 or 6 in the morning to go in the truck with dad to Produce Row
"I'd sweep the parking lot, clean the bathrooms, stack fruit, clean the office and paint signs that would say 'red grapes, two bucks a pound.' The rain would always wash the writing off the signs, so I'd have to go back over them."
will always have those childhood memories.
But change has been an agent of growth in Ole Tyme's history.
is optimistic that the company's move to a new location will usher in an era of increased prosperity - a phase in Ole Tyme's history that forges new memories without relinquishing the ones from its past on Produce Row