Joseph C. Brock, 88, of Williamsville and Boynton Beach, Fla., who turned a garage salad-packaging enterprise into a major corporation, died Monday (Sept. 13, 1999) in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst, after a brief illness.
Brock was founder of the former J.C. Brock Corp., a Buffalo business that processed, packaged and distributed fresh salads and precut vegetables for nearly 50 years.
Considered an innovator in processing, packaging and distribution, Brock started a salad packaging business in his garage in 1947 with the help of one part-time employee.
The business had more than 180 employees when it was sold to a Dallas firm in 1995 after Brock had retired.
Initially, Brock's salad packages contained dressing, but later he sold salad without dressing and added cole slaw to his product line.
Eventually, his produce line was expanded to include spinach, topless carrots, onions, broccoli, celery, cauliflower, stir-fry vegetables and a variety of salads.
Besides being innovators in vegetable marketing, Brock and his employees developed machinery and equipment needed to process and clean them and pioneered the ice bag used to keep vegetables fresh during shipping.
At one time, Brock's corporation operated a plant in Ohio and a Canadian subsidiary in Bradford, Ont. He and a partner also formed Mr. Carrots Corp., which washed and graded carrots in California and shipped them to Buffalo in rail cars for packaging.
Born in Coudersport, Pa., Brock came to Buffalo as a young man and went to work as a sweeper in a hat factory. In a short time, he had worked his way into sales.
In 1933, he tried his hand at retail sales and within six months, at age 22, had become manager of a large retail store.
From 1940 to 1946, he operated his own women's hat businesses but decided to try something different, as fashion trends reduced the demand for hats. The new business was his highly successful packaged salads.
Brock was active in the Masons and was a charter member of the Produce Marketing Association.
He is survived by his wife, the former Adele Amdur; three daughters, Ronna of Northport, L.I.; Cheryl of Manhattan and Layla; a brother, Russell of Los Angeles; four grandchildren; and a great-grandson.
Services were held Wednesday in Amherst Memorial Chapel, Getzville. Burial was in Ahavas Sholem Cemetery, Cheektowaga.