September 08, 1998
Richmond, California – Nicola Critelli, the Italian immigrant who founded the Critelli California Olive Oil, has announced that Serafino Bianchi will lead the company into the next millenium.
Bianchi, an Alamo resident, is an entrepreneurial business and community leader. He is the founder of Educare Management Corporation/Bianchi Schools in Contra Costa County and former president of Equimax Real Estate Services. Bianchi has served as both a planning commissioner and city councilman for the city of Clayton.
Since taking the Critelli helm this June, Bianchi and the company’s new General Counsel, Curtis Woo, have created and are implementing an aggressive two-year business plan. Already in the works is the addition of a second Alpha Laval mill (olive crusher). The machine is being flown from Milan, Italy to the Richmond factory and is expected to arrive at the end of this month. With the addition of this new mill, the company will double its crushing capacity.
Critelli, which leases a grove of 1,000 olive trees from the East Bay Regional Park District in Pleasanton, is also contracting to buy olives from growers throughout California. According to Bianchi there is already a commitment for between 1,500 and 3,000 tons of olives which will be delivered and crushed into extra virgin olive oil from October to March. In addition the company will be crushing over 200 tons of olives for Reas’ Olive Ranch in Arizona.
In preparation for the increased output, the company, which already has two 6,000 and two 4,000 gallon storage tanks, has just purchased and installed five more tanks, giving them a storage capacity of over 35,000 gallons.
Bianchi says his goal is "to propel Critelli Olive Oil, Co. to new heights. The olive oil industry in California is undergoing a major transformation and the eyes of the world are waiting to see what develops." This year he projects that the company will produce over 120,000 gallons of olive oil, making Critelli one of the largest producers of extra virgin olive oil in the country. The new company president added, "I think we will be on the forefront of this exciting new industry and I am pleased to play a part."
Nicola Critelli, now Chairman of the Board, says he is proud that the company’s new president "was also born and raised in Italy." He adds that "my American dream keeps getting better and better. Serafino has the best qualities, he’s one of the smartest businessmen I know, a good friend and for me, who was trained as a chef, it’s important that he’s also a good cook. He loves olive oil as much as I do!"