( Courtesy AppleWood Fresh )

Applewood Fresh Growers LLC, Sparta, Mich., has hired Brian Coates as director of business development.

Coates, who has 36 years of experience in the produce industry, was at retailer Meijer for 32 ½ years, most recently as senior produce buyer. Most recently, he was director of procurement for almost three years for Heeren Bros. Inc.

At Meijer, he was a bagger, produce clerk, produce manager, then buyer/merchandiser, overseeing the procurement of produce.

As senior buyer, he developed successful promotional strategies and pricing plans, according to a news release.

“He brings a deep blend of both a strong retail background and a commitment to excellence.,” Nick Mascari, president of Applewood Fresh, said in the release.

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