Building Upon a Legacy, Martinelli’s Looks Toward the Future

The bright flavors of perfectly ripened apples – pressed into cider, distinctive apple-shaped juice bottles or celebration-ready sparkling ciders – are at the core of one of the Monterey Bay region’s most historic businesses. S. Martinelli & Co., a family-owned and -operated company and an MBEP member, is still based in Watsonville, the town in which it was founded more than 150 years ago.

Martinelli’s marked its sesquicentennial last year in a big way, rolling out a commemorative book and restoring a 1932 Ford Model B truck once used for company deliveries, reintroducing it for Watsonville’s Fourth of July parade, the Wharf to Wharf Race in Capitola and other events. And in a nod to its roots, the company debuted a hard cider, which was Martinelli’s original product in a pre-Prohibition era.

Behind all those years is a history of constant reinvention, says company President/CFO Gun Ruder: “We need to continuously improve and advance, but there’s no sense that we can rest on our laurels.”

That’s why working as an active MBEP partner on big regional issues is so important. “For us as a manufacturing company, having a workforce that’s educated and has the skillset to work in a more technologically advanced plant than we’ve ever had before is critical, and having those workers sustain a livelihood in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties is tough,” says Ruder. “These are all big issues for us, and we want to make sure we have a voice in the solution and add our perspective to help drive solutions for the region broadly.”

So while the company, which now sells its products in 44 countries, was publicly celebrating its milestone anniversary with an appearance on the “Megyn Kelly Today” show, it was also upgrading its infrastructure and investing in its own future: replacing a 30-year-old enterprise resource planning (ERP) system with new cutting-edge business process management software and going live with a new filtration system, the first of a three-phase modernization project that will soon bring two new high-speed production lines to the company’s West Beach facility.

For S. Martinelli & Co., 150 years are just the beginning. “We’re proud of where we’ve been,” says Ruder. “We’re in Watsonville for the long haul.”

Pictured from left, S. Martinelli & Co. President/CFO Gun Ruder and CEO John Martinelli. Photo courtesy of S. Martinelli & Co.

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