How One Company is Providing Healthy Eating Options to Businesses and Communities Around the US
Jun 28, 2012
In 1998, Chris Mittelstaedt was working in an entry level position at a high end hotel in San Francisco. With a desire to accomplish more both professionally and personally, he launched the ‘FruitGuys®,’ a company dedicated to providing fresh fruit, or “nature’s candy” as an alternative to junk food and other unhealthy snack options to local business people.
“We wanted to help people eat healthier at work and were confident that providing fresh fruit was the best way to go,” remarked Mittelstaedt, founder and CEO of The FruitGuys®. “We felt that people would replace the junk food, the chocolate, and the chips with something a lot healthier if given a choice.”
Each morning, Mittelstaedt and his business partner carefully packed fresh fruit in handmade wooden crates to deliver to local businesses. When not making fruit deliveries, Mittelstaedt dressed in a banana suit and gave away free fruit at the corner of California and Montgomery streets in San Francisco to attract potential customers.
Relying on word of mouth, free fruit samples, and a memorable banana suit, The FruitGuys® gained additional clients and business gradually increased. Mittelstaedt soon realized that he needed a bank to support his growing business and was introduced to a local business banker at the North Beach Bank of America banking center.
“My mother-in-law introduced me to David Blair at the branch,” said Mittelstaedt. “Dave was a community-minded guy and I really liked the way he thought about helping small businesses and the community as a whole. I felt that Bank of America could provide the support we needed to thrive – so I opened an account that day.”
“Since Chris walked into our North Beach banking center and chose to entrust his business banking needs to Bank of America, we’ve worked to understand his business and support his growth,” said Brian Harrison, Client Manager for The FruitGuys®. “We’ve advised him on business matters over the years, developed a personal relationship, and are proud of his accomplishments.
The partnership between Bank of America and The FruitGuys® has endured 15 years, and continues today. As the company’s deliveries have increased to serve thousands of businesses weekly, Bank of America’s role has expanded to provided lines of credit, capital, equipment financing, and payroll services, which has allowed The FruitGuys® to grow nationally and hire 40 new employees.
“I love coming to work every day because I feel like we’ve made a huge impact on people and companies around the United States by helping them be healthy,” stated Mittelstaedt. “Thanks to Bank of America, we’re going to continue to grow our business around the country, support local farmers and sustainable initiatives, and deliver fresh produce to people at work and home.”
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