3 Generations in Business
In 1955, at age 22, Samuel F. Sorbello and his wife Rose started their own farm with funds from wedding gifts and a used tractor. By age 27 Sam owned 200 acres of peach trees.
Around the same time, Sam and Rose had two sons: Fred and Samuel J. Sorbello. Rose managed the household and the children helped ensure that the quality of the peaches routinely exceeded customer’s expectations to build the farm's reputation.
Over the next 4 years, Sam and Rose ran the same peach farming business. Each year the peaches ripened then were picked, packed, and shipped to the market immediately. Unfortunately, competitors followed the exact process, flooding the market with peaches and driving down prices and profits. Sam noticed this and decided the following year would be different.
The Cold Storage Opportunity
Sam and Rose built their first cold storage facility in 1964, a 1,500 square foot cooler capable of maintaining 36 F°. In addition to storage, it included a packing shed which was utilized to wash, sort, and weigh the peaches. With this infrastructure in place, Sam held the last 6,000 bushels of his harvest, waited a few weeks for the demand to be greater than the supply then sold his peaches at market-demanded premium prices.
The success of the cold storage brought attention from other larger farmers. Sam reacted by building a cold storage for frozen foods such as blueberries and seafood. By 1978, the attention was not only local anymore. At the request of a meat importer, Sam built the first USDA inspection facility in the Philadelphia area. Many other meat importers became aware of the opportunity, and began directing their product from New York’s ports to Sam's facility, Mullica Hill Cold Storage. Shortly thereafter, the more conveniently located Philadelphia ports dominated the meat import business.
In 1985, Sam retired and his two sons (Fred and Samuel J.) continued the business. Growth was sustained throughout the late 1980's, 1990's and 2000's with Atlantic Coast Freezers being the first acquisition. Samuel J. Sorbello and his wife Colleen purchased Atlantic Coast Freezers in 2006. Atlantic Coast Freezers is the last standing 100% family owned and operated business left from the days of the peaches and you can still find the dedication, hard work, and personal touch inspired by Samuel F. and Rose Sorbello over 55 years ago.
Current Day: Always Looking Ahead
Today, Atlantic Coast Freezers continues to grow following Samuel J’s retirement in 2020. His son and successor Jeff Sorbello is driven to lead the business with the same passion and drive as the generations exhibited before him. With rapidly changing global market conditions and the new challenges those present, Jeff is focused on growing and adapting to provide a wide range of sustainable solutions for the meat import industry.
In 2010, ACF completed a project consisting of 22 acres of solar panels positioned directly behind ACF. Capable of producing 16,500 kilowatt hours of energy per day, the farm not only provides continuous power and a massive reduction of the facility’s carbon footprint, but is also home to a herd of grazing sheep who keep the grass low. Keenly aware of the global concern for meat industry sustainability, ACF is committed to do its part to optimize energy efficiency while being a key component of the industry’s supply chain. Click either of the images below to read more.