HOUSTON — For Magnolia Fruit & Produce Co., the transition to becoming Hardie’s Houston was easy.

“They’re a family business and we’re a family business,” said Liz Moser, director of sales and marketing. “They operate the same way we do and even though Hardie’s is a big company, they’re very family oriented. It’s been a really good match.”

Magnolia merged with Dallas-based Hardie’s Fruit & Vegetable Co. in April.

Hardie’s had been serving the market for Pro*Act customers from its Dallas and Austin facilities, Moser said, along with having Magnolia do some deliveries and drop shipments. It was clear Hardie’s needed a partner in the area, she said.

“We had some common customers that we’ve worked with and they had a need to come into this market,” she said.

Magnolia Fruit & Produce has a long history in the Houston fresh produce industry. Started by the Jack Faour family in the 1920s, the company closed in the 1980s following a fire and re-opened in 2007 with Moser as vice president.

Moser is the granddaughter of founder Jack Faour and daughter of Ken Faour, who ran the business in the mid 1970s, as well as appearing on local television for nearly 20 years raising awareness of fresh produce with the company’s “Always Get Fresh” slogan.

Moser said the company didn’t plan to be a full produce house when it reopened, but found itself in that position. Merging with Hardie’s allowed it to continue serving the customer base it had and grow to a wider area.

Magnolia also offered services Hardies did not, including custom-cut produce and tomato repacking.

Houston’s previous Pro*Act representative, Third Coast Produce, is no longer with the foodservice buying network.

A representative with Third Coast Produce could not be reached for comment. According to court documents, Third Coast Produce ceased operations this summer and a business called TCP Ventures Ltd. operates the business now.

A representative for TCP Ventures could not be reached for comment.