Southern California retail merchandising firm RFT FreshSource is expanding north with a new partnership, FreshSource North, Pleasanton Calif.

FreshSource expands into northern CaliforniaThe partnership is between Los Angeles-based RFT FreshSource president Robert Thompson and Shawn Dagen, the new venture’s president and co-founder.

Dagen, vice president of sales for Pleasanton-based Edge Sales and Marketing for 11 years, opened the new office in early September.

He said he wanted to wait to publicize the new operation until after it landed major clients, including Taylor Farms California Inc., Salinas, Calif.

FreshSource North has hired retail veteran Dave Howald to support the Sacramento Valley region.

Howald has 20 years retail experience and is also northwestern regional manager for Irvine-based California Avocado Commission, Dagen said.

FreshSource expands into northern CaliforniaFreshSource North plans to add more positions for brand and account management and retail support, Dagen said.

The new company focuses on accounts in northern California, northern Nevada and Pleasanton-based Safeway Inc., and is considering expanding into other regions, he said.

FreshSource North’s clients also include Basin Gold Cooperative, Pasco, Wash., Green Giant Fresh, Salinas, and Oceano, Calif.-based Bejo Seeds Inc.’s Tasti-Lee tomatoes.

A longtime Southern California broker, Thompson recently started his own operation and runs RFT Farm Sales Inc. in Westminster, Calif., as well as on the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market.