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Coosemans Acquires Consumers Produce of Pittsburgh And Gains Critical Mass In Crucial Mid-Atlantic Region…
Alan Siger Stays On As 'Senior Advisor'

The notice is succinct:

Coosemans Worldwide Acquires Consumers Produce of Pittsburgh

Coosemans Worldwide Inc. is proud to announce that it has acquired Consumers Produce Co. Inc., in Pittsburgh, PA. The new company will operate as Consumer Fresh Produce, Inc. Coosemans is an international leader in specialty produce and fresh herbs. Consumers Produce is recognized nationally as a premier regional distributor and produce re-packer, with a diversified product line, including wine juices and grapes.

“Consumers Produce is an outstanding organization,” said Daniel Coosemans, president of Coosemans Worldwide, Inc., “well known for its innovation, freshness, and commitment to food safety. We now enjoy a state-of-the-art facility located just a few hours from several major metropolitan areas, greatly expanding our supply chain capabilities. The new company will be named Consumer Fresh Produce.”

“Joining the Coosemans organization gives us the opportunity to offer our customers a one-stop shopping experience, with access to a full line of specialty items. Becoming a part of the Coosemans team will move our entire organization to the next level,” said Alan Siger, chairman of Consumers Produce. “I look forward to working with Daniel at Consumer Fresh Produce,” said Siger, who will serve as a senior advisor to the new company.

Gregory D. Cessna, the CEO and President of Consumers Produce, Inc., will be the CEO of Consumer Fresh Produce, Inc., and Les Ainsman, president of Coosemans Pittsburgh since its inception in 1998, will serve as president of Consumer Fresh Produce. “This is an excellent opportunity for two great companies to combine their strengths in continuing to serve the wholesale business in Pittsburgh and tri-state area,” said Ainsman.

We wish Danny Coosemans and the whole Coosemans organization the best of luck. The acquisition is surely a win all around. Alan Siger had no children interested in the business and needed an exit strategy. The Consumers staff needed a well-financed owner interested in growing the business. And Coosemans gets a much needed high quality facility in a geography where large, high quality refrigerated warehouses are in short supply, plus it gets the bonus of an existing business.

We doubt the acquisition would have happened except for the vision Alan Siger possessed that led Consumers to not accept the traditional work flow on the terminal market but to develop an alternative. We wrote about the vision in Pundit sister publication, PRODUCE BUSINESS, in a piece we titled Forewarned Is Forearmed:

Progressive industry leaders … see that the era of “buy from anyone” is drawing to a close. Want to see a glimpse of the future? Go to Pittsburgh. There rises a new wholesale produce facility being built by Consumers Produce. We may not think of wholesaling as being in the vanguard of new technology but, in fact, this new plant is motivated by all the usual considerations — need for more space, consolidate operations, more efficient plant — plus one more.

As Alan Siger … puts it: “The day is coming when large retailers, foodservice operators and service wholesalers simply won’t buy from anyone without a facility that can guarantee proper handling of the product, including uninterrupted maintenance of the cold chain.”

If buyers seize their responsibility, Al Siger will be right. And the industry will be better for it. Forewarned is forearmed.

Well, he was right on that and so much else. The best part of the announcement is that Alan will stick around as well  as “senior advisor” to the company. The truth is that Alan has been a senior advisor to the produce industry at large since he was quite young. His service as Chairman of the United Fresh board, as the only terminal market wholesaler on the Produce Traceability Initiative steering committee, and as informal counselor on all kinds of industry initiatives has earned him the gratitude of the trade.

Among the many who have been the beneficiary of Alan’s counsel is this Pundit. He taught a little about produce and, by dint of example, a lot about character. We hope Coosemans will be persuasive in keeping Alan on board for a long time to come. 

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