Commodity: Potatoes
Customer: Corey Brothers Produce
Location: Charleston, West Virginia – Kanawha River Railroad

Short line railroads often play the crucial role of the first-mile and lastmile service providers for rail customers. Sometimes, it works out so that Watco’s short lines get to provide that service at both ends of a cross-country move. That’s the case for the potatoes arriving at Corey Brothers Produce in Charleston, West Virginia on the Kanawha River Railroad. They start their journey on the Eastern Idaho Railroad at Sun-Glo in Sugar City, Idaho.

“Corey Brothers is a long-standing rail customer in West Virginia’s capital city and we’re honored to play a minor part in their overall business. To emphasize the uniqueness of rail and Watco’s connectivity in the U.S., the same potatoes offloaded in West Virginia on the KNWA were first loaded about two-weeks prior on Watco’s Eastern Idaho Railroad in Sugar City, Idaho – a genuine ‘farm to table’ Watco experience,” said Chase Gunnoe, KNWA sales manager.

Potatoes are loaded into refrigerated cars at the Burley, Idaho warehouse on the Eastern Idaho Railroad.

Corey Brothers is a 3rd generation, family-owned produce supplier that distributes fresh vegetables throughout West Virginia and the surrounding states. So, Idaho, famous for its potatoes, was a natural place for Corey Brothers to source potatoes for their customers. Several years ago, they partnered with Sun-Glo, and started bringing the product in.

Corey Brothers currently receives about two railcars each month. Each car contains around 130,000 pounds of potatoes and transports a variety of 14 different sizes of packages and containers, depending on the needs of their customers. From their warehouse, the potatoes are distributed to food service providers and retail stores across West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Ohio, and Virginia. Some customers also resell the bulk potatoes, extending their reach from Cincinnati down to Tennessee.

The potatoes are unloaded into their warehouse, and then put onto pallets and loaded into trucks for delivery to their customers. Barry Thomas, Corey Brother’s warehouse supervisor, says the cost savings is what drives them to use rail.

Potatoes are loaded onto Corey Brothers Produce trucks at their warehouse in Charleston, West Virginia, to be delivered to customers across the region.

“Since it’s a cross-country shipment, rail is our best option. The only thing holding us back from shipping more by rail is the time it takes for some shipments to arrive,” Thomas said.

If you’re around that tri-state area of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and beyond, the next time you’re picking up potatoes at the store or enjoying some fresh fries, there’s a chance two Watco railroads provided that critical first-mile and last-mile rail service that helped bring it to you.

“Corey Brothers Produce is a valued customer on the KNWA. A single refrigerated railcar provides the Kanawha Valley – and the neighboring TriState area with an abundance of fresh Idaho potatoes,” Gunnoe. “Whether its consumers at a local produce market or kids at a school cafeteria, the potatoes we deliver in a single railcar help feed thousands.”