May 4, 2018Graceland Fruit expands into Wisconsin with CranGrow purchase
Frankfort, Michigan-based Graceland Fruit, a producer of dried fruit is expanding its operations through an alliance with Wisconsin-based Cranberry Growers Cooperative (CranGrow) that allows it to staff and operate a new, state-of-the-art processing plant in Warrens, Wisconsin.
According to a news release, Graceland purchased Wisconsin cranberries to manufacture dried cranberries in its Frankfort facilities.
“The success of global sales of its dried cranberries has led to demand outpacing its current production capacity,” the release stated. “The CranGrow alliance provides Graceland with increased manufacturing capacity to support its global growth plans and provides CranGrow member/growers access to worldwide markets through Graceland’s well established sales network.”
“We have established invaluable relationships in the marketplace as well as a strong sales force that has resulted in demand outpacing our current manufacturing capacity. In 2017, CranGrow opened a new, modern production facility, and will benefit from a more established market. So, it made sense to work together to meet mutual goals,” said Graceland Fruit CEO Al DeVore.
DeVore said Graceland’s manufacturing capacity will increase by approximately 30 percent with the addition of the 50,000 square foot Warrens processing facility. Graceland now boasts 285,000 square feet of manufacturing space combined in Warrens and Frankfort.
CranGrow will remain an independent grower cooperative that supplies Graceland Fruit. All 61 current CranGrow employees at the Warrens facility will become Graceland Fruit employees, increasing the company’s total employment to approximately 275.
“We’re excited to begin this alliance that will greatly benefit both CranGrow and Graceland Fruit,” said CranGrow board chair Linda Prehn. “Graceland is a world leader in the production of dried cranberries. By combining our resources in Wisconsin with Graceland’s manufacturing expertise and global sales network, we are establishing a solid future for growers, employees and the community.”
Graceland Fruit and CranGrow have been working together to create a seamless transition and integration plan. “Members of Graceland Fruit’s research and development, technical and quality staffs are working hand-in-hand at the Wisconsin facility to assist the team in implementing Graceland’s rigorous standards – ensuring that the new facility produces the consistent quality customers have come to expect from Graceland Fruit products,” added DeVore.
About Graceland Fruit
With headquarters in Frankfort, Michigan, Graceland Fruit produces and markets dried fruit and other products to over 50 countries worldwide. Its customer base includes some of the largest and most prestigious commercial baking and food companies in the world. The company also markets its branded products to consumers in retail outlets and online. Early innovators of the technology used for drying tart cherries and cranberries, Graceland Fruit has twice been named Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year. Primary product lines include dried cranberries, cherries, blueberries and apples. For more information, visit www.gracelandfruit.com.
About Cranberry Growers Cooperative (CranGrow)
CranGrow was founded by more than 30 Wisconsin cranberry growers. The growing operations that constitute the cooperative are family-owned and operated farms that have been passed on from generation to generation, several more than 100 years old.