Russ Davis Wholesale acquires Liberty Fruit
Russ Davis Wholesale Inc. has acquired Kansas City, KS-based produce wholesaler Liberty Fruit Co. Inc..
Now part of Russ Davis’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan, Liberty will continue to operate independently and will be led by its existing leadership team. According to Liberty CEO John McClelland, the opportunity to become 100 percent employee-owned was the driving force behind the merger.
“The Caviar family has owned Liberty for all of its nearly 60 years,” McClelland said. “Not many owners, regardless of industry, get to leave this kind of legacy for their employees.”
Adam Gamble, president and CEO of RDW, cited the companies’ shared vision and values as a primary catalyst: “The Liberty team relates to their employees and customers the same way we do. We’re excited about the opportunity to bring programs from both companies to a larger area with the confidence that customers will be very satisfied due to the shared focus on service and quality.”
The two companies have worked together for several years to service Defense Commissary Agency military bases throughout the Midwest. Through that process, operational and geographic synergies were discovered that made a potential merger intriguing.
“Our primary growth vehicle in recent years has been wholesale and retail, and RDW — particularly with their substantial manufacturing capabilities — gives us the opportunity to expand this business significantly,” said McClelland, “and our distribution footprints couldn’t be more complementary.”