Minneapolis-based Wholesale Produce Supply Co. is in growth mode and opened two facilities, said Brian Hauge, president.
The company, which already had installed an onion packing line in recent years, has added a 20,000-square-foot potato repack and bagging operation in Big Lake, Minn., and is opening a tomato packing facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in June.
The potato operation is on the site of the former Hull Potato facility, which Wholesale purchased in August. John Alstrup, a former owner of Hull Potato, manages the operation.
“We have the ability to buy potatoes from across the region and repack for our label or private-label. We can do bags, bulk, cartons, everything,” Hauge said.
The potato operation has six employees, Hauge said.
Wholesale is scheduled to move into its new 10,000-square-foot tomato packing plant in Winnipeg on June 1.
The company already had operated a sales office in Winnipeg.
“We’ll be adding employees and offering tomatoes from there and all other items, shipped from Minneapolis, for Winnipeg and the western (Canada) provinces,” Hauge said.
The facility also will serve as a distribution center for other items coming out of Wholesale’s 170,000-square-foot Minneapolis facility, he said.
The plant is a new building, he said.
Shari Keeler, an eight-year member of the sales staff in Winnipeg, is managing the new plant there, Hauge said.
The sales office will move into the new building, he said.
Wholesale is adding to its capabilities in its main operation in Minneapolis, too, Hauge said.
“We’re adding some state-of-the-art machinery for our tomato operations in Minneapolis,” he said.
One new line, for clamshells, was installed in early May, with a fully automated tomato repack line with color sorting and sizing capability scheduled to go in during the third quarter, Hauge said.
He said the tomato line would ensure more exact weights and speedier outputs, allowing the company to create more consistent packs.
The operating will handle all clamshell sizes, Hauge said.
Wholesale also was in the final stages of another acquisition in the Midwest, which was to be finalized June 1, Hauge said.
“They will help us expand our items and services and value-added and all the rest,” he said.