Jack Price certainly had the right name for an apple brand, and he used it when it came time to select a label brand for his fruit. Priceless was the obvious choice, and the single-word brand name tops the list of labels that tell the whole story of what the customer can expect when purchasing a particular brand name apple.
Jack Price moved from Spokane to the Yakima Valley of Washington State after World War I to become the bookkeeper for Roche Fruit Company, which had the already well-known Jewel and Yak brands. In time, Price moved on to become sales manager for C.C. Smith, whose brands included Persian, Lucky Boy, and Twin C. Since Smith was a domestic fruit broker only, Price saw an opportunity and in 1935 founded Price Distributing to handle the export of fruit to markets outside the United States. He dealt primarily with brokers in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, as these individuals covered the entire continental European market.
When World War II broke out in Europe in 1939, Price Distributing was forced to switch to domestic sales. At about the same time, Price purchased the assets of K. Lane Johnson of Gleed, Washington. Johnson had owned the first packing house, built in 1912 by a man named Ralph Elliot, in the Gleed area. This packing house had actually been designed by an architect and was originally called the Naches Fruit Storage Company. It went through several owners before Johnson purchased it in the 1920s. Price Distributing continued to use it until it burned to the ground in the 1960s.
Some of the labels Johnson had used, such as Big J and Ski-Line, had enjoyed such a good reputation that Price continued to use them. The company name gradually was changed to Gleed Cold Storage Company, although the marketing arm remained Price Distributing. After the warehouse that Jack Price had acquired from Johnson burned, Price Distributing moved its operation about a mile west and built a new warehouse and cold storage plant.
This happened long after Jack’s death in 1945; at which time his widow entered into a partnership with Carl Behnke, another local broker who had marketed fruit under the Apple A Day label and was a former mayor of Yakima. In 1948, Jack’s son Harry returned from college and entered the business. Over the next 60 years, the company added two more cold storage plants, purchased some orchards, and marketed fruit under the Price and Priceless labels. It also had a label called Big Apple, which was used solely by a distributor in Atlanta, Georgia. It was relatively common for a packing house to reserve a label for a single customer.
In 1967, the company incorporated under the name of Price Cold Storage and Packing Company. In 1975, Harry’s son Bob joined the company and remains the chief executive officer. The Price and Priceless labels were used until 2004, when the company joined Rainier Fruit Company, the marketing arm of Zirkle Fruit Company. Consequently, Price Cold Storage now primarily packs and sells fruit under the
Rainier label, although Price and Priceless are occasionally used
on exported fruit.