1904 to 2011
Stephen and Gina Paul were married in February 1987. Together they have been blessed to use there creative talents and vision to create Bouquet of Fruits, Gourmet Shopping Network and now California Gourmet Company.
As a husband and wife team with the tremendous support of their family, Stephen and Gina created Bouquet of Fruits in 1987. Bouquet of Fruits vision was to create beautiful gifts utilizing fresh fruit as the nucleus of all things with a fruit theme. Since then they have been producing and shipping California's finest fresh fruit gifts to individual and business customers around the world continuing a family tradition since 1904.
In 1904 Israel Paul and his wife Burtha arrived in the United States with 5 children, Beatrice, Blanch, Arax, Paul and Nora. In addition to their shoe repair business, they bought a 35 acre ranch in Fresno, California and began farming fresh apricots, nectarines and grapes. The Paul family quickly went from shoe repair to farming full time. After coming to America, Israel and Burtha had three more children, Agnes, Kay and Gladys. In 1942 Israel and Burtha sold the farm, and retired in-town for the remainder of their years.
His oldest son (my grandfather) Paul would be called an entrepreneur by today's standards. From the 1920's through the 1960's, Paul was an amateur wrestler, a band leader for The Fresno Municipal Band, a top salesman for State Life of Indiana, co-founder of The California Armenian Old Age Home, a Director to The Fresno Fair, and a Farmer. Paul had 3 children, Don from his first marriage, and Ron and Bob from his second marriage. Paul bought his own 40 acre pasture in 1939. He started by growing watermelons, then diversified to raising Arabian Horses and Gurnsey Dairy Cows. When his father sold the original ranch In 1942, Paul bought 80 acres with a house. He added tree fruit to the operation, growing the Paul Farm to 120 acres.
By the late 1940's, The Paul family created their first label that was used on their table grapes. That label was called "Touchdown", it was inspired by Don's professional football fame, playing for the Los Angeles Rams from 1948 to 1955. Ron and Bob continued in the family farming tradition by helping their father start Pipco Fruit Company (Paul Israel Paul Company). This began a new age in farming for the Paul family. With the focus shifting from dairy to tree fruit, the Paul's opened their first packing shed in 1952 under the Pipco Fruit Company label.
From the 50's to the early 60's, the Fresno operation grew to just under 400 acres, and a new packing facility was built. From the mid 60's to mid 70's the farming operation expanded north to Madera County, growing to 1600 acres. Pipco purchased grain land and developed it for farming tree fruit, table grapes, wine grapes, almonds, and citrus.
Soon after the death of Paul Paul in 1979, Pipco Fruit Company was divided among the two brothers involved in the family farm. The Pipco name stayed with Ron, his wife Angie and their three boys Ron Jr, Brian and Steve. The smaller Pipco Fruit Company refocused on specialty crops, leading the industry in marketing high quality fruit. From 1985 through 1991 Pipco Fruit Company transformed into a modern farming operation. Brian and Steve were involved in the day to day operations of the farm, in and out of the fields and packing operation.
It was during that period Steve meet Gina while going to school and began their lives together not only as husband and wife but as creative business partners. Together they saw an opportunity to market the unique fresh fruits that PIPCO grew directly to the consumer so they started a business call Bouquet of Fruits. Gina had a retail management background, and artistic design skills. Steve had experience administrating a large operation and a desire to do innovative marketing. Together they began selling fruit baskets by catalog, right from the Pipco Ranch House.
By 1988, They opened their first retail location in the Sierra Vista Mall in Clovis, California. They moved the production off the dining room table and into a warehouse. The Sierra Vista Location did well during the holidays. The seasonality of a fruit gift business, prompted us to develop a theme gift gourmet store, keeping fresh fruits at it's core. This retail location is still open today in The Pavilion West Shopping Center, in North-West Fresno .
In 1994 a new location was opened at the Fresno Air Terminal, marketing California produce to the visitors coming and going. Also Bouquet of Fruits went on the Internet with it's first 4 web pages, showing images of products and an 800 number to call and order.
From 1995 to 1999 Steve and Gina spent all their productive energy growing the their business. By creating and developing many unique value added items such as chocolate caramel bosc pears, apples chocolate strawberries that can be shipped coast to coast, truffles, new chocolate fruit confections never before seen in the gourmet gift industry. With the creations of these new and unique items Stephen and Gina created printed catalog and virtual web catalogs to push sales through the 800 number. Production was handled through their 1200 square foot warehouse until 1997. By 1999 the companies growth created the opportunity to move into a larger 5000 sq ft facility to handle the next several years of growth.
The Paul Family has always embraced new innovations. In 1999 We focused on the Internet as the new medium for growing the business. A proprietary shopping cart and order processing system was deployed, web development was moved in-house, the warehouse was moved to a new building with office space; This move centralized, administration, IT, production and warehousing into a single Fulfillment Center. A comprehensive marketing plan was developed to utilize already established Internet companies with existing customer base to promote the bounty of The San Joaquin Valley's vast agricultural products.
From 2001 to 2006 Stephen and Gina along with their dedicated staff grew the drop shipment portion of the business. The company had the honor to fulfull for many large on line and brick and mortar retailers such as 1800flowers.com, Red Envelop.com, Macys.com, Target.com, Costco.com Drugstore.com and many more.
By 2006 the company was recognized as one of the largest regional gift manufactures with nationwide fulfillment. This growth attracted new partners to join the company in mid 2006 taking the company in many new directions. Directions not consistent with core values that the Paul family had originally established and desired.
In 2008 the partnership dissolve. Faced with many challenges, Stephen and Gina retained the Bouquet of Fruits brand and also created Gourmet Shopping Network.com. An on line portal designed to connect consumers directly to producers. In 2011 California Gourmet Company was created to become the brick and mortar version of the Gourmet Shopping Network.
Today both Gourmet Shopping Network and California Gourmet Company both operate under one facility located at 2015 W. Bullard Ave Fresno, Ca. 93711 building and growing the company back the very same way we started it. One customer at a time.
We look forward to having you as a customer and we are grateful for the opportunity to provide you with only the finest quality product and service.
Stephen and Gina Paul