Founder Of Tropicana Dies In Bradenton
BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) _ Anthony T. Rossi, a pioneer in the marketing of citrus and founder of Tropicana Products Inc. died in Bradenton. He was 92.
Rossi, who died Sunday, was born in Messina, Sicily and emigrated to the United States in 1921. The company that he founded in 1947 grew into Tropicana Products, one of the world’s largest producers of citrus beverages.
″Mr. Rossi’s vision and driving force led to the development of many innovations that gave new direction to the citrus industry,″ Myron Roeder, president of the International Group and Global Marketing of Tropicana said Monday. ″Mr. Rossi was a great man, a pioneer and an entrepreneur.″
A company spokeswoman declined Monday to provide Rossi’s cause of death.
Rossi was inspired to emigrate to the United States by his great uncle, a successful businessman in the U.S. who had returned to Sicily for health reasons.
After emigrating, Rossi worked as a mechanic’s helper and a cab driver.
He opersted a Long Island, N.Y. grocery store during the 1930s, then bought a cafeteria in Bradenton in the 1940s.
After getting out of the restaurant business, Rossi began to buy oranges and grapefruits directly from growers in the area and started Fruit Industries Inc., which was soon supplying the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York with 1,000 gallons of sliced citrus fruit a week.
He was the first to own and operate refrigerated trucks, which meant that in the 1950s, perishable fresh citrus products could be shipped across the country.
He developed a freezing process for undiluted orange juice that helped Tropicana and other companies compete with the producers of frozen concentrate.
Before he retired as chairman, president and chief operating officer of Tropicana in 1978, he sampled the company’s orange juice daily.