(March 30, 10:15 a.m.) Russet Potato Exchange has opened its first satellite office in Skokie, Ill., a northern suburb of Chicago.

The aim, according to president Russell Wysocki, is to better serve the company’s customer base not only in Chicago and surrounding areas, but throughout the Midwest and rest of the country where Russet Potato markets potatoes, onions and, now, tomatoes.

“With the size we’ve become and becoming a national marketer, we’re always looking for good people to bring on board,” Wysocki said. “Moving into the Chicago area certainly gives us a lot of good opportunity to do that.

“Hopefully, we’ll be ready to announce more (expansion) soon and keep going down that path.”

Mike Shamberg and Jay Martini Jr., formerly of The Art Kramer Company, have been hired to lead the Skokie office, which opened March 23, Wysocki said.

“Mike has a vast knowledge of onion and potato purchasing,” Wysocki said. “And Jay is going to bring us into tomatoes. He has a great amount of experience purchasing in tomatoes.

“They’re a great fit, and we have a very good comfort level with them that was important to us,” he said.

Russet Potato is a grower-shipper with 14,000 acres of Wisconsin potatoes, and also packs and markets onions from Wisconsin and throughout the country. The company has added tomatoes to that as well.

“We’re headed down the right path in our opinion,” Wysocki said. “We’re able to offer our clientele a lot more in the way of services and find ways to make our clients’ businesses more profitable, and that’s what it’s all about.”

The company’s Skokie office will be available for short service and occasionally handle a variety of items including cabbage, carrots, melons and mixed root vegetables.