Oppenheimer Group and BC Tree Fruits, two of Canada’s top fresh produce distributors, have formed an alliance aimed at expanding their customer base in Toronto and other areas in the eastern part of the country.
Part of the alliance includes a “shared” employee, Peter Ruiter, who as of Dec. 1 is Oppenheimer’s sales representative based at the Ontario Food Terminal in Toronto, according to an Oppenheimer news release.
Ruiter sold BC Tree Fruits products from the terminal for several years and will now also market Oppenheimer’s full line to customers in Eastern Canada, the release said.
“Strategically, this is a great opportunity for Oppenheimer,” Josh Leichter, Oppenheimer’s East Coast vice president of sales, said in the statement.
“Peter is a produce veteran whose experience and relationships will add a great deal to our approach in eastern Canada,” Leichter said. Toronto is “a gateway to other large eastern Canadian markets, like Montreal and Quebec. Having someone with his fingers on the pulse of the produce terminal there will help us improve our ability to serve our customers in this area.”
Ruiter will work closely with Oppenheimer’s western Canadian sales manager Walt Breeden to serve the Canadian market with a coordinated approach, according to the release. The alliance will also enable Oppenheimer to build the market for items not currently cleared to enter the U.S., but which have access to Canada.
BC Tree Fruits, based in Kelowana, British Columbia, is part of the Okanagan Tree Fruit Cooperative, which is owned by over 800 local growers.
“This partnership will allow us to maintain a strong presence in the Eastern Canadian marketplace and continue to provide excellent service to our customers,” Rick Austin, BC Tree Fruits director of sales, said in the statement.