Expanding its reach in the Southeast, Sunrise Fresh Produce LLC has completed its purchase of certain assets from Emerald Coast Finest Produce in Pensacola, Fla.

The Jacksonville, Fla.-based wholesaler, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hattiesburg, Miss.-based Merchants Foodservice, completed the closing on Jan. 18, according to a news release.

Sunrise Produce purchases Pensacola assetsSunrise is changing the name of the former Emerald operation to Sunrise Produce Gulf Coast. The new operation becomes Sunrise’s third produce distribution center, according to the release.

Michael O’Brien, Sunrise’s vice president of operations, will oversee the transition of Emerald into Sunrise Produce Gulf Coast.

Michael Murphy, Emerald’s longtime former executive vice president, has been retained as Sunrise Produce Gulf Coast’s general manager, according to the release.

Sunrise Produce Gulf Coast serves about 400 customers throughout the Florida panhandle with produce, eggs and dairy products.

The addition will allow Sunrise to serve additional customers in Florida, south Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama, Sunrise officials said in the release.

Sunrise also distributes from Jackson, Miss., and Jacksonville.

The expansion of Sunrise’s distribution network should improve its purchasing power and help its regional foodservice customers, Andy Mercier, Sunrise’s president and chief executive officer, said in the release.

A member of Pro*Act, Monterey, Calif., Sunrise’s annual produce sales exceed $35 million, according to the release.

Sunrise serves independent and national chain restaurants, private clubs, assisted living centers and other institutional foodservice operators.