As a young man, Charlie worked as a produce buyer for Piggly Wiggly, the first full-service supermarket in the U.S., later to become Safeway.
Motivated by a strong sense of independence, he opened a grower-shipper business. Safeway was his first client. In 1940, Charlie formed Ciruli Brothers Growers & Shippers in Pueblo, building what was to become the largest Colorado grower-shipper business through the 1950s and 60s.
Under Charlie’s leadership, the company expanded into Arizona, and farmed an additional 2,500 acres of mixed vegetables, lettuce, carrots, onions, watermelon and cantaloupe.