To say Columbia Marketing Inc., which owns a large storage and shipping plant next to Pangborn Memorial Airport, has been a leader in the fruit industry could be construed by some as an understatement.
Such has been the track record of what is considered today one of the nation's leading growers, marketers and shippers of premium quality conventional and organic apples, pears and cherries.
In 1989, Columbia Fruit Packers owner Jim Wade partnered with Nick Buak, Glady Bellamy and McDougall & Sons to start CMI. They immediately went about creating a cutting-edge marketing group that has since established a vast network of domestic and overseas buyers for local crops and products.
The key to that success? Flexibility, leadership and innovation.
The formula continues to work to this day. The latest example? In 2012, CMI's Kanzi apple variety began appearing in retail stores. The Kanzi was first developed in Europe and comes from gala and braeburn varieties. And CMI, along with Columbia Fruit Packers and Applewood Orchards, is the exclusive grower of the fruit in the United States.