New name for olive oil business at Griffiss Park

There’s a new name for the East Coast Olive Oil bottling and packaging plant at Griffiss business park, but that’s all that’s changing, says a company official.

The company that moved to Rome from Utica last year and has about 160 employees is now known as Sovena USA, Inc.

"Really, it’s just a name change," Eryn Balch, marketing manager, said this morning. The change comes as part of a global re-branding initiative among East Coast’s partner company Nutrinveste’s business groups under the umbrella name of Sovena. Nutrinveste of Portugal, one of the leading olive oil companies in the world, bought 80 percent of East Coast in 2005.

Sovena has no other operations in the United States besides the Griffiss facility, according to Balch. The local plant, a major U.S. importer of olive oil, is part of the new Sovena consumer goods division.

"The new name and group image allows us to more easily communicate our global reach and resources, as well as how those benefits support our local efforts and abilities," Steve Mandia , Sovena USA chief executive, said. "The company has the same people, the same shareholders, the same philosophy, and the same address. All that has changed is the name."

The Mandia family founded East Coast Olive Oil in 1991 in Utica, moving to Rome last year when it outgrew its land-locked location in North Utica.

Balch said the Griffiss plant has seven production lines in operation six days a week. It packages and distributes olive oil for retailers nationwide, including stores like Wegmans and Price Chopper.