From a production vehicle in Philadelphia, then a global adventure, to a passion for healthy living in California, Chris Mittelstaedt has had an incredible adventure to get to where he is today. He is the Founder and CEO of the FruitGuys, based out of San Francisco, delivering fresh fruit across the country.
Education: American University B.S., B.A., Business Administration
Rookie Year: 1988
Turf: Western Philadelphia
Current Home: San Francisco, CA
His College Pro Start:
Chris first started working for College Pro as a painter when he was in high school. When he finished high school and his season as a painter, he went on to take over that franchise for three years. He earned an astonishing $116,000 in his first year. He was there to take on a new and exciting challenge.
"Originally I was drawn to College Pro because the challenge was interesting to me, the opportunity was interesting to me. I really felt motivated by wanting to learn. I enjoy the sense of self destiny and control."
College Pro Takeaways:
Chris said a lot of his customer service skills came from his time at College Pro. And to him, the real life business experience has been invaluable. “Even if you don’t like painting, you won’t get a real world experience like this anywhere else.”
He went on to take that real world experience and start his own business as an entrepreneur. Chris is grateful to College Pro for inspiring him and teaching him the basics of good business. “A lot of people make business so much more complicated than it needs to be. College Pro does a great job of making sure people understand what’s going on in their business, in the simplest terms”.
From College Pro to the FruitGuys:
Chris first went to San Francisco to be a writer. He worked for a time selling newspaper advertising, then moved to Manhattan with his girlfriend (now wife) where he wrote a novel. When he moved back to San Francisco, he was between jobs when his wife became pregnant. From there, Chris decided he had to do something big. "FruitGuys was an act of desperation. My wife and I were unexpectedly pregnant, and I was in between jobs. I came up with the concept of delivering fruit to offices. It was scary, it was an act of desperation, it felt like there was no turning back. Kind of all in, gung ho." The FruitGuys made their first delivery on February 16, 1998. The company has been growing and delivery fruit ever since.
Entrepreneurship to Chris:
Chris never craved the entrepreneur lifestyle. All he knew what that he wanted to take on a project that he could lead well.
"For me it’s about the challenge of accomplishing something that I can control and manage."
The FruitGuys started with the simple idea of delivering fresh and local fruit to offices around San Francisco. The goal was to provide an alternative to unhealthy work snacks in the workplace.
Since starting in San Francisco's, they've expanded with offices in Los Angeles, Texas, Boston, New York, Washington, Phoenix, Seattle, Chicago, and Philadelphia. And they deliver fruit and inspire healthy eating habits all across the country. Chris is the CEO and founder of the company, and employs more than 100 people across the United States.
Things to Know About Chris:
Chris originally wanted to be a writer
He is well known for wearing a banana suit at work