BCBusiness: John Anderson reflects on almost 50 years with Coquitlam-based Oppy
The CEO of produce grower Oppy was recently inducted into the Business Laureates of BC Hall of Fame.
Q: First off, congrats on being inducted into the Business Laureates of BC Hall of Fame. What did that feel like?
A: It was a big honour. There are a lot of people in there who have contributed a lot to the province and to the people who work in it.
Q: Oppy (formerly Oppenheimer Group and now majority-owned by Dole) has been around since the founding of British Columbia—165 years. You’ve been with the company for 48 of those years. How has it changed since you’ve been a part of it?
A: I started working in the warehouse, unloading trucks and rail cars. It was one office then, the company did about $7 million in sales. Then there was an opportunity in sales to distribute apples and kiwis from New Zealand. We started expanding; opened an office in Seattle, then California, Philadelphia. We took the opportunity to expand the business by offering year-round supplies of more and more categories, like kiwi and grapes. Then we got into marketing, transportation and value-added products. In the early days of something like Granny Smith apples, people thought they were tough on your tummy, so we’d work with newspaper and food editors to add them into recipes.