About Stapleton-Spence Packing Company
Stapleton-Spence is located in the heart of an agricultural community about 50 miles north of Sacramento in Gridley, California. The landscape is dominated by prune-plum, walnut, almond, and peach orchards.
As leading packer of prune concentrates, purees, juices, and other dried fruits, Stapleton's provides products to all 50 states and exports to 30 countries worldwide. Companies that quickly want to reach the 30 million West Coast consumers, use Stapleton's private label and co-pack services to develop, process, pack, and inventory their fruit, and juice products.
Founded in 1951 by Jerry Stapleton and Lee Spence, Stapleton-Spence Packing Company began in the food processing business with a specialization in dried fruit and nut products. These are the foundation of our product line to which we have added fruit purees, juices and concentrates.
To address the industry’s needs for regional production Stapleton’s began offering custom packing, product and process development and beverage co-packing.
In 1951 the 6,500 square foot Drenton Packing Co. was purchased and renamed Stapleton-Spence. Copacking prunes in cans and packages began for Rosenberg's and Abinate & Nola companies.
In 1954 the company relocated to a site near the fairgrounds in San Jose,CA. There was one 20,000 square foot building on the 4 acre location. Oppenheimer was added to their very short list of clients and Stapleton-Spence began to produce a specialized hot filled prune in a pouch with no preservative.
In the late 50's Stapleton-Spence began making their own sales and buying prunes direct from growers. They developed a niche in the Foodservice Business with a wide variety of canned prunes, bulk and packaged prunes, and prune juice (which was co-packed for them). While continuing some retail and export business, foodservice became their focus.
The 60's and 70's were a period of change and growth. Mr. Spence sold his shares to the company. An additional 72,000 square feet of building was added to the San Jose site. Stapleton-Spence purchased Woelfell Canning in Cupertino and soon consolidated operations. With equipment from the Woelfell plant, Gangi Brothers and Safeway, Stapleton-Spence built a prune juice plant. Evaporation was added to produce Concentrate. The existing Stapleton-Spence shareholders purchased Howard Dryers in Yuba City, a dehydration facility on 37 acres of land. In a few years they bought Rio Pluma, another dehydration facility in Gridley.
An eye to the future and diversification have been the focuses of the 80's and 90's. A processing plant was added to the Howard Dryers location. Stapleton-Spence added related products to better serve their customer base. Fresh Plum Puree was introduced for industrial application.
In 1998/1999 the plant was moved from San Jose to Gridley, Ca. This new facility expanded the range of products that Stapleton-Spence now offered. Included in this is a full line of industrial purees and concentrates, a full line of juice products, beverage co-packing services, product development services and of course our traditional line of bulk, bagged and canned prunes.
In 2012 the largest solar water heating system in California was installed at the plant, saving the company 37,584 therms of natural gas annually. The solar thermal system includes 20,000 square feet of solar panels on the roof of the processing facility.