GoldCoast Salads, Naples, FL

In January, the Collier County Economic Development Council honored GoldCoast Salads as Collier County Business of the month, an award that in their case, recognized job creation and economic diversification in the community.  To celebrate, the folks at GoldCoast Salads (GCS) were kind enough to open their doors to fellow EDC mEDC Business of the Monthembers for a reception and tour of their Naples facility on Plover Ave.  This was my first time hearing of their company, though once I saw the building, I realized I’ve been driving past it for a few years now.  I just never knew there was a full-fledged manufacturing and packaging facility hidden inside!

GCS currently has three products which are manufactured right here in Naples, FL for national distribution: A Blue Crab dip, a Maine Lobster dip, and a Smoked Salmon dip.  Their breakthrough moment was when they got a deal with Costco for national distribution, and this is probably the easiest way you can go out and try some of their dip today.  

Not knowing much about the packaged food industry, I was shocked by how much scrutiny even a relatively small facility like GCS is constantly under.  They have a machine that scans every container of product which can detect foreign objects of any material as small as a lentil bean.  They have constant surprise visits by various governing bodies, and even Costco randomly checks their samples for quality and weight to ensure that each tub is filled to exactly the correct measure.

Needless to say, the sweet smell of fresh seafood was in the air from the moment I stepped into the well-manicured lobby.  Peter and Adam Radno were our hosts for the tour, and led us through the mixing/assembly area, as well as through the upper annex and offices.  I was truly impressed with how immaculate the entire facility was from stem to stern.  The entire place was a great example of how to overcome the stereotype that manufacturing facilities must be the ugly kid on the block; the outside could have been a school or church, and the floor was clean enough to eat off of.  The entire production floor GoldCoast Salads dipwas refrigerated, for obvious reasons, and I can’t begin to imagine what their electricity bill comes to in the middle of August!  The 16,000 square foot facility was built specifically for them, and even so, they are still expanding their product line, and trying to find new ways to utilize the space they have.

I am always interested in learning more about Naples businesses in the manufacturing industry, which I believe Naples (and southwest Florida in general) sorely lacks.  This is a shame, as manufacturing industries employ many people (the GCS facility alone has 25 employees).  It is difficult for a city’s infrastructure to grow beyond a certain point without at least a few local industries that actually create something of tangible value.  I am pleased to announce that this is the second such facility I’ve visited in the last month (the other being Norman Love Chocolates).

My thanks go out to Peter and Adam for not only the tour, but for the complimentary samples of all three seafood products.  The smoked salmon is my new favorite thing in the universe, and I can’t wait to see what other products they come up with next. I hope the success of GoldCoast Salads catches the eye of other prospective manufacturing industries, and shows that Naples can do industry with style.

Paul Nicodemi

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