Walter Umlor founded Umlor Orchards in 1958. This apple packing company operates in Conklin and is now led by Vince Umlor, the third generation to lead the family business.
In recent years, Umlor has upgraded their technology to keep up with industry needs. “Automation like this wasn’t a consideration 10 years ago. With fewer people on the team this year, having it in place has really saved us,” Vince said.
With automation in place, 20-30 people are still needed to keep the operation running smoothly. They start in late summer packing peaches, transition to apples from fall through early spring, and end their packing season with locally grown asparagus.
Vince has a vision to do more. “We have a small workforce that gets laid off every spring when we get done with packing. They have to find something else to do until we get busy again in August. I feel like companies are having a hard time finding workers right now, so it seems like there would be some opportunity to partner to keep our team members working year-round,” Vince shared when we met.
Umlor Orchards is thinking outside the box. Vince has talked to area manufacturers about doing custom assembly with his crew. He also thinks about how his 17,000 sq. foot space with refrigerated storage could be used by other businesses to keep the operation busy 12 months a year. Vince said, “We’re a small, family business that wants to stay strong. Partnerships and automation will keep us moving forward.”
Reach out to Vince if you’d like to talk to him about possible partnerships. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.