Business updates: Twin Cities - The Packer

Business updates: Twin Cities

05/21/2010 02:53:17 PM
Ashley Bentley

Upper Lakes Foods restructures staff

Upper Lakes Foods, a Cloquet, Minn.-based broadline foodservice distributor, has restructured its staff from the top down.

The company’s produce business is handled by three employees now, said Mike McLeod, produce manager.

McLeod succeeds Doug Strandquist in the position.

“It’s definitely been a crazy first full year of buying, but sitting alongside Doug for a year really helped me,” McLeod said.

McLeod, who has been with the company for 11 years, said there used to be more than 10 people working in produce. Remaining with McLeod are Shane Margin, who is in charge of quality, and Mike Colombe, who manages repack and incoming produce.

“They were basically going through each department, retooling and trying to get the most efficiency out of it,” McLeod said. “I was able to hand pick the couple of guys who came with me.”

J&J Distributing upgrades facility

St. Paul, Minn.-based J&J Distributing Inc. has kept busy this year making improvements to its warehouse.

The company totally redid its receiving area with all new receiving doors and a facility layout change, said Kevin Hannigan, vice president.  It has expansion projects already in the works for other areas, he said.

“We’ve been expanding our process steadily, and our retail sales are growing,” Hannigan said. “Our customer base is growing, and we’re making a lot more deliveries.”

Russ Davis Wholesale adds merchandiser

Dean Balzum joined Russ Davis Wholesale and its subsidiary, North Country Produce, in February.

Balzum is a merchandiser for the Inver Grove Heights, Minn.-based company.


Before joining Russ Davis Wholesale, Balzum was director of produce for Kowalski’s Markets, Woodbury, Minn.

The company has also brought on a merchandiser in Marrow, Wis., and hired more quality control staff this year, said Adam Gamble, general manager of North Country Produce.

Co-op Partners Warehouse hires sales representative

Andy Wright has joined Minneapolis-based Co-op Partners Warehouse, the distribution arm of The Wedge Co-op, as an outside salesman.

Wright was previously a director at Organic Valley, La Farge, Wis., said Tom Rodmyre, warehouse manager for Co-op Partners Warehouse. Wright was with the company eight years.

In the late 1990s, Wright worked with a Minnesota spinach grower that is no longer in business, Rodmyre said.

H. Brooks & Co. adds food safety position

Emma Fernandez has filled a new position for H. Brooks & Co. — director of food safety and quality.

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