Makers of Fisher nuts celebrates 90th anniversary
Italian immigrant John B. Sanfilippo arrived in America in 1910 and 12 years later, he founded a small pecan shelling company out of a rented storefront in Chicago.
Today, John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc. (JBSS) — known for brands such as Fisher, Orchard Valley Harvest and Sunshine Country, as well as private label — has more than $674 million in sales annually.
A premier processor, JBBS is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year.
The company attributes much of its success to the business principles of its founder, John B. Sanfilippo, whom it commemorates with a Founder’s Day celebration March 5, which coincides with Sanfilippo’s birthday.
“John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc. is proud to be a fourth-generation Chicago-based company committed to quality, expertise and innovation,” says Jeffrey Sanfilippo, JBSS ceo. “Our employees are dedicated to carrying on John B. Sanfilippo’s legacy of providing the freshest, best quality nuts to consumers around the world.”
Recent innovations by the company include the “Freshness Seal” bag for Fisher Baking Nuts and the “Freshness You Can See” can and jar for Fisher Snack Nuts.
John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc. Through the Years
- 1910: John B. Sanfilippo, along with his brother, Joe, and mother, Rosa, joined his father in America from Sicily, Italy.
- 1922: JBSS began business in a store front location in Chicago.
- 1929: A factory on Division Street was built to crack and shell pecans.
- 1945: JBSS integrated an automatic pecan cracker at their plant with two machines, and boosted production to shelling 150,000 pounds per year.
- 1958: JBSS expanded its customer base and began selling to bakeries, supermarket chains, ice cream manufacturers and candy manufacturers.
- 1963: Upon the death of John B. Sanfilippo, Jasper Sanfilippo took over as president of JBSS.
- 1970s: JBSS diversified its product line and moved into packaging and distribution by acquiring the route distribution business of the H.H. Evon Co.
- 1991: JBSS went public to raise capital for long term expansion plans. By that year, sales reached $151 million with continued expansion to other varieties of tree nuts and peanuts. They also began acquiring other companies and brands and expanded operations into the nut growing regions of the United States. JBSS operates shelling and processing facilities in Gustine, Calif., Selma, Texas, Bainbridge, Ga. and Garysburg, N.C.
- 1995: JBSS purchased the Fisher Nut brand in 1995 from Procter & Gamble.
- 2007: JBSS constructed a new 1.1 million-sq.-ft. corporate headquarters which includes processing, packaging and a distribution center.