A private Minnesota investor is buying two Twin Cities produce distributors and merging them under the name New Harvest Foods.
Edina-based Dragonfly Group, owned by investor Jason Jaynes, announced this week the acquisition of produce wholesalers H. Brooks and Co. of New Brighton and J & J Distributing of St. Paul.
Both companies sell fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as precut produce and other fresh, packaged foods, like salads and dips, to grocery stores.
“They did compete against each other and often times serviced the same customers,” said Ron Carkoski, who will serve as CEO of New Harvest Foods. He recently retired as chief executive of Four Seasons Produce.
Carkoski said H. Brooks, which was founded more than a century ago, is better set up for distribution while J & J, which dates back to the 1970s, has a facility better suited for production — such as preparing and developing new products.
In addition to retail, H. Brooks has a large federal contract to supply fresh foods to area school-lunch programs.
The combined company will employ 225 people and its corporate office will be in New Brighton.
“We are going to be looking at efficiencies, but our goal is to keep everybody onboard, if we can,” Carkoski said.
The deal is expected to close by late June.