(March 10) To extend its reach in the Lone Star State, Dallas-based Hardie’s Fruit and Vegetable Co. Inc., acquired Austin, Texas-based Five Star Produce Inc.

The acquisition created a new division for Hardie’s — Austin-based Hardie’s Fruit and Vegetable South, said Five Star president Greg Rowe, who retains the position at Hardie’s South. Five Star vice president David McCoy also was named vice president of Hardie’s South.

Hardie’s president and chief executive officer David Hardie said Five Star Produce has annual revenue of about $18 million, and Hardie’s has annual revenue of about $50 million.

Rowe said he expects the Five Star Produce name to be maintained for now.

“The Five Star name is known in the Austin and San Antonio areas very well,” Rowe said. “Over time, we’ll phase in the Hardie’s logo or perhaps a new logo that outlines our partnership.”

Rowe said the companies are expected to maintain current employees and facilities. Hardie’s has 148 employees at its 71,000-square-foot facility in Dallas, and Five Star employs 52 in a 22,000-square-foot facility in Austin.

He said bringing the Hardie’s name to Austin brings a tradition of quality that goes back to 1943. Being a part of the distributor organization Pro*Act, Monterey, Calif., also was a highlight of the deal, he said.

Kent Brown, Hardie’s director of business development, said the acquisition is effective immediately.

“We actually commenced some of this activity as of yesterday morning,” he said March 8.