(Oct. 19) Arkansas Tomato Shippers LLC, Nogales, Ariz., is phasing out Arkansas from its name to reflect its growing national presence.

The company announced Oct. 17 that it had shortened its name to ATS LLC.

Arkansas Tomato Shippers started as a Hermitage, Ark.-based grower-shipper in 1997, but the company moved to Nogales in 1997 to offer year-round supply.

“The name has served us well,” said sales manager Brooks Lisenbey. “We were uneasy about changing the name because Arkansas Tomato has an excellent reputation.”

ATS sources tomatoes from Arkansas from June and July. It then ships from California from August through November and imports from Mexico through Nogales from September through May. The company also imports cucumbers, bell peppers, melons, eggplant, squash and mixed peppers from Mexico.

The company expanded its Nogales operations last year when it moved into a 26,000-square-foot warehouse. Lisenbey said the company had $36 million in sales in 2005, about 80% of which was tomatoes.

He said that despite advertising and editorial coverage in the trade press, some buyers were still confused about the company’s location and products before the name change.

“ATS broadens our customer base and doesn’t zero in on Arkansas,” he said.