( Vine Line Produce )

Comstock Park, Mich.-based Vine Line Produce Distribution is a new organization formed by the merger of Heeren Bros. Inc. and Walsma & Lyons.

“Based on shared vision, values and strengths, the merger between Heeren Bros. and Walsma & Lyons is a dynamic move,” Joseph D’Ottavio, CEO of Vine Line Produce Distribution, said in the release. “We are excited about the strategic advantages of working together, while building on core competencies to pursue future growth.” 

The combined business also will include Michigan-based Vine Line Logistics LLC, another partner in the joint venture merger. 

Re-branded as Vine Line Produce Distribution, the merged companies’ business lines include Vine Line Logistics, Vine Line Trucking, Walsma & Lyons, and Heeren Bros. Produce.

The merger positions the new organization to become a full-service produce distribution, brokerage, refrigerated transportation and logistics companies, according to a news release.

“The produce and transportation landscape is ripe for a company that is willing and able to invest in multiple distribution facilities. Vine Line Produce Distribution has never been more agile and focused on meeting customers’ produce and transportation needs in an ever-changing market,” Gary Lyons, president of Vine Line Produce Distribution, said in the release.

Vine Line Produce Distribution operates out of a 180,000-square-foot facility that combines wholesale distribution with cold storage and packaging, according to the release. A second 46,000-square-foot facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, provides direct distribution into Midwest and Western markets. 

The merger brings together produce distributors Walsma & Lyons, founded in 1955, with Heeren Bros., founded in 1933.

Heeren Bros. is currently owned by 42 North Partners, a Grand Rapids private equity firm led by Mike and Sue Jandernoa. 42 North Partners also guided the company’s recent merger with Vine Line Logistics, according to the release.