The Pandol Story, an American dream.
"For over 70 years, Pandol's philosophy has focused on providing its customers with the world's finest produce and service that is second to none."
1906 – 1939
In 1906, 17-year-old Steve Pandol emigrated to the U.S. from what is today known as Croatia. Steve worked his way across the U.S. to eventually settle in Fresno County, California, where he joined other Croatians to work and farm collectively.
In 1921 he married a young woman, Margaret, from his hometown in Croatia. Together they had three sons, Jack, Matt and Steve, Jr.
Steve and Margaret purchased their own 160-acre farm near Delano, California. Jack served in World War II while Matt and Steve, only in high school at the time, worked with their father and mother on the family farm.
To assist the war effort Pandol grew only potatoes. In 1949 the family was finally able to plant the first grape vineyard. After the war and school the three sons grew into their full-time roles in the farming company, with Jack handling sales of product and administration, Matt directing labor crews and irrigation, and Steve in charge of equipment and chemical applications.
1950’sPandol & Sons grew and expanded from a grower into a marketer and shipper. In 1952 the brothers built a loading shed adjacent to a railroad tracks to facilitate loading. This facility, with future additions, served as their primary shipping and storage location for more than 40 years.
To better serve their customers it was decided that a specialized marketing company was needed and, in 1957, Pandol Bros., Inc. was formed. From this new entity, direct sales to retail chains were launched plus they continued with traditional shipments to auctions.
The three brothers took on complete responsibility for the operations of Pandol & Sons as well as Pandol Bros., Inc. In 1961 the three men loaded one of the industry's first East Coast bound refrigerated trucks. To further serve their customers, the Pandols diversified by adding vegetable varieties to the family crops, but premium table grapes remained their flagship product and their primary focus.
The 1970's were a time of exciting growth for the company. Pandol began the importation of fruit from Chile and developed inroads for importing Mexican fruit. Members of the third generation of the family became involved in the business and the Pandol brothers hired their first managers from outside the family.
The company continued to grow with more members of the third generation joining the organization. Chilean operations increased. In California the family increased development of other permanent crops, including apples, kiwis, Asian pears and persimmons, but they never lost their primary focus on delicious, juicy table grapes. From 1983 to 1986 Pandol Bros., Inc. even represented Nicaraguan bananas.
The nineties were a time of transition from the second to the third generation of Pandol farmers. With grape production increasing in California, the family built a second cold storage facility in the Delano area. The company also became involved in innovative grape breeding programs to develop new varieties for the marketplace. Soon members of the fourth generation entered the organization.
2000 through today
The company continues to focus on its core competency of growing, marketing, and shipping exceptional table grapes. In fact, a new indoor packing facility was built and then enlarged to provide specialty packs to the industry. For sustainability and to ensure the continued growth and excellence of the Pandol organization, the family implemented a series of corporate governance measures and engaged the first CEO from outside the family in many years.