It is for multiple reasons, said Brian Crane, owner of Lucero Olive Oil and Crane Mills in Corning, that the 10-year-old business is closing its doors.
“We are needing to focus on our core businesses of logging, timber and our remaining orchards,” Crane said. “With the impact of last year’s wildfires, which impacted our timber business, an olive crop failure last year and poor nut prices, this is the difficult decision that had to be made. It was not anyone thing, but a combination of factors.”
Crane said they will begin to divest from all olive related agricultural, processing, and distribution operations effective immediately and will close the Lucero Olive Oil retail tasting room by April 30.
“All inventory will be offered at 50 percent off while supplies last,” he added.
Current plans are for online sales to continue through the middle of May, with wholesale fulfillment operations for bulk product continuing for as long as supplies last, but not past May 31.
Lucero was originally formed as a partnership with the Dewey Lucero family of Corning, with Dewey managing the operations and tasting room. During that time the olive oil brand won numerous national and international awards for the product milled at the facilities in Corning.
A few years ago, the partnership broke up and the Lucero Olive Oil brand became the sole ownership of the Crane business.
During its lifespan, Lucero Olive Oil was very supportive in Corning events and activities, including its own annual Lucero Crush, which drew people from across the western states.
The business was also instrumental in Corning’s adoption of its current logo seen on city facilities, vehicles and correspondence.
As the fourth generation of the Crane Mills family plans for the future, they will focus their capital and efforts on the fundamentals upon which the company was founded, Crane said.
Crane Mills, the foundation of operations, was founded in 1931 as a forestry business. The Crane family expanded their agriculture interests in 1994 with nut and olive crops.