Baldor Specialty Foods buys Merex Food Corp. - The Packer

Baldor Specialty Foods buys Merex Food Corp.

10/10/2008 12:00:00 AM
Ashley Bentley

(Oct. 10, 12:51 p.m.) Baldor Specialty Foods Inc. has acquired Merex Food Corp., Yonkers, N.Y., and is moving Merex’s Bon Campo line of specialty produce to its International Produce Exchange.

Merex moved to Baldor’s Bronx, N.Y., location in mid-September, and the companies are working to unite the two businesses.

Michael Muzyk, president of Baldor, said the retail and foodservice distributor wanted to bolster its retail sector business.

“Retail is particularly important with the poor economy in a time like this,” he said. “This is a great time to fold in Merex with its strength in the retail aspect.”

Muzyk said Merex’s chief executive officer, David Blumberg, will stay with Baldor as a consultant. He also offered jobs to all Merex employees who wanted them, he said.

Baldor’s IPEX division already sources specialty produce from around the world. The division works directly with foreign growers, without going through outside importers and distributors.

Merex’s Bon Campo line includes baby potatoes, cipolline onions, shallots, pearl onions, baby squash, fern fiddleheads and medjool dates. The company has offered Dutch, Italian and French produce in America since 1984, according to its Web site. Baldor has plans to extend the line.

“I don’t think they ever had an engine of a company like ours to launch the line like they wanted to,” Muzyk said. “I’d like to take that and really explode it.”

One of the things Merex was known for and that Muzyk plans to continue is promoting exotic and unusual produce with recipes on labels to help consumers know what to do with the product.

Merex had sales of $42.4 million for the 2006-07 fiscal year, according to www.hoovers.com.

Baldor recently moved from the Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx, N.Y., to a location eight blocks away, a 200,000-square-foot warehouse that used to be a distribution center for Montvale, N.J.-based The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co.

Baldor’s other produce divisions include Baldor Fresh Cuts and Baldor Organics.



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