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Hot-time tamales

From the time John David DiCapo was a small boy, he loved the smell of the hot tamales sold by the street vendor, Jim Van Zandt. As a young child, DiCapo decided he wanted to go into the restaurant business, and he spent the next 25 years fulfilling that dream. But something was missing, and in '97 he started his own business following his love for the hot tamale product. DiCapo Foods LLC was born shortly thereafter with a full line of packaged frozen goods and specialty food products.

After making a career with his own specialty products, John realized his company would not grow if he did not start to automate the packaging function. DiCapo bought an Econocorp Mini Monoseal semi-automatic flap sealer to help realize the potential of his business. After learning the tricks of the trade, DiCapo bought a 4,000-sq-ft space and brought the building up to the required codes. He centralized his business, and set up the Mini Monoseal to reliably glue-seal his cartons for mass distribution.

Carton flap sealer is economical and easy to use. Simply present one end of the carton in position over the glue pot and start the cycle via a foot pedal.

DiCapo decided on Econocorp's Mini Monoseal after researching different manufacturers. "Nobody else could provide the product we needed at an adequate price point," says DiCapo. "Econocorp also provides equipment extensions that can take your business to the next level. We have not had any problems, and we feel we made the right decision bringing in Econocorp."

Without the adequate price point of Econocorp's Mini Monoseal, DiCapo would not have been able to bring on his hot tamale line. Before this product came to market, DiCapo was strictly working manually on its other frozen items. DiCapo retails his tamales in packages of eight in 20-oz cartons at grocery stores and convenience stores. The company also produces master cases of the tamales with eight boxes of eight, totaling 10 lb for clubstores.

Econocorp's Mini Monoseal can adjust for these different-sized packages without the need for retooling the machine. Simply open the carton, load the product, and the Mini Monoseal glues each box shut, ready for shipment. Simplicity of operation is one of the key features of the machine. The operator presents one end of a carton in position over the glue pot and starts the cycle using a foot pedal. The carton is then manually lifted against a squaring device on the compression panel and hot-melt glue seals the flaps.

DiCapo is currently working on other areas of distribution. He envisions a two-pack version of the tamale to sell to convenience stores, lunch trucks, ballparks and wholesale clubs. The company is also producing a 30-pack for wholesale clubs and a 60-pack for institutional clients and foodservice accounts. He looks forward to growing his company with the help of Econocorp's extensive cartoning and case-packing lines.

More information is available:

Carton flap sealer: Econocorp, Inc., 781/986-7500. Circle No. 228.

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