Produce Alliance LLC, a produce management services group specializing in the procurement and distribution of fresh produce to the foodservice industry, announced the hiring of Melany S. Jolly as executive vice president, as well as the opening of a new flagship office in Salinas, CA.
Effective June 11, 2012, Ms. Jolly returned to the industry after a severe skiing injury forced her to take a year hiatus in 2011. She brings over 30 years of produce, grocery and broadline distribution experience to Produce Alliance.
"This past year gave mea new perspective on life," Ms. Jolly said in a press release. "I am excited to apply my knowledge, passion and expertise to help bring Produce Alliance to the next level of success."
Ms. Jolly will be tasked with building upon the company's already-profitable foundation while enhancing its relationships with the grower-shipper community, and expanding national and international sales.
"The owners and I shared an instant rapport as we discussed the challenges and rewards of creating real growth in the produce industry," Ms. Jolly added in the press release. "With purchases of over $300 million annually across a nationwide network of almost 50 member distributors (which represent over $2 billion in annual volume), we see the opportunity of 'one vision, one voice' in creating increasing value for customers. We plan to do this by building upon our existing sales, procurement and distribution channels."
"Produce Alliance is poised for growth," George Melshenker, president and chief executive officer of Produce Alliance, added in the press release. "Melany brings excellent experience and leadership capabilities. She's been an entrepreneur, which fits perfectly with our member distributors -- the heritage family-owned companies of the industry. In our business, you not only need skills to manage and sell, but you need to understand produce and its ever changing models. After an extensive search, we believe Melany meets our needs and expectations, and have already found her to exceed them."
Another recent investment includes the restoration of a new office in downtown Salinas.
"In the world of produce, Salinas is the heart and soul -- it's where America comes for their produce," added Mr. Melshenker, who heads the company along with co-founders Rob Feldgreber, Mike Williams and Joe Collier. "We've had a buying presence there for over 12 years. We have outgrown our current facility and wanted something that could support our expansion."
Ms. Jolly discovered 60 West Market Street, where the company acquired space in the historic Granary Towers, originally built by Associated Seed Growers (Asgrow) in 1925.
"We wanted a location that reflects the heritage of Salinas and is harmonious with the history of our members to house our customer-facing activities," Ms. Jolly said in the press release. "We also wanted to strengthen our relationships with grower-shippers and the farm families that are the fabric of the valley. Produce Alliance is in Salinas for the long run, and you will see us step up our community support activities as we wish to be a net contributor to the health and welfare of our new neighborhood."
"We will be involved in all levels of growing and bringing this strategic advantage to our customers," Mr. Melshenker added in the press release. "In my 30-plus years in this business, I've never been so excited about our future."