Arrest over 4 million pounds of stolen citrus

A man in Florida was arrested for illegally obtaining more than 4 million pounds of citrus worth more than $540,000 from five victims. Bradley D. Reiter, owner and operator of Reiter Citrus Inc., was booked into the Polk County Jail on multiple charges, including scheme to defraud, grand theft and dealing citrus without a license.

According to an investigation by the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Reiter entered a grove owned by a Bartow, FL, resident without permission and removed 180 boxes of citrus. Reiter Citrus Inc. then provided the resident with a check that only represented half of the actual value of the fruit.

The investigation also alleges that Reiter entered into contracts with, and collected fruit from, four companies without paying:

  • He entered into contract with Gabriel Family Partners to purchase citrus and removed 13,108 boxes of oranges between March 20 and April 16, 2014. Reiter Citrus Inc. never paid the business for the fruit or its rise value.
  • He entered into contract with Gabriel Groves Inc. to purchase citrus and removed 1,599 boxes of grapefruit and 20,468 boxes of oranges between March 26 and April 28, 2014. Reiter Citrus Inc. never paid the business for the fruit or its rise value.
  • He entered into contract with Sandlake Groves LLC to purchase citrus and removed 10,907 boxes of oranges between April 29 and May 14, 2014. Reiter Citrus Inc. never paid the business for the fruit or its rise value.
  • He entered into a written agreement with a Bartow, FL, resident to purchase citrus and removed 570 boxes of citrus fruit. Reiter Citrus Inc. never paid the resident for the fruit.

Wakefern bids $40 million for 12 A&P stores

A&P filed a petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, NY, to sell 12 of its locations to supermarket operator Wakefern Food Corp. for $40 million.

The Sept. 24 filing pertains to 11 A&P, Pathmark and Waldbaums stores in New York and Pennsylvania and one store in Connecticut. If competing bids surface, an Oct. 8 auction will be held for the stores, and Wakefern is entitled to a $1.2 million breakup fee if another bidder is victorious.

Oneonta reports good movement, good demand and steady resolve

The fires in eastern Washington have, as of Sept. 21, burned nearly 1 million acres. But throughout the months of heat, smoke and personal loss, fruit growers and shippers have stayed the course, showing the resolve of Washington fruit growers.

Now, with the end of 2015’s apple harvest just a month down the road and business going strong, Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers is reporting a heightened market for big fruit, which is in “very short supply right now,” according to Marketing Director Scott Marboe.Starr-Ranch-HoneycrispOneonta Starr Ranch Growers' Honeycrisp. (Photo courtesy of Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers)

Due to the smaller sizing, volume is down this year at an anticipated 13 million boxes of apples, but Marboe said quality of all the fruit has been excellent.

“We set up a good amount of pre-packaged bag business ahead of time in anticipation of this smaller crop, and that is helping movement on those smaller sizes. Domestic retail partners have been doing great jobs at promoting,” he said in a press release.

Those promotions are tailored for U.S. consumers who love Washington apples, and Marboe said domestic demand is good. In addition, foreign markets continue to expand, and he said, “Export demand is great in many countries.”

Apple harvest is expected to wrap up in October, and as the 2015 program, which includes organics, rocks along, Oneonta has been engaged in several promotional campaigns that include “a very successful fall promotion with our back-to-school SnaQ bags and tri-wall bins,” he said.

Marboe added that more promos are planned for the year, and he and his colleagues will be at PMA Fresh Summit in Atlanta, where existing and potential customers come by the tens of thousands to experience a snapshot of what the fresh produce industry has to offer. This year OSRG will be showcasing two new apples at the expo.

"We’re introducing some new varieties for sample, and the Juici will be available as well as the Cosmic Crisp to try," he said. "We are still a year away from volume on Juici, but the feedback and demand on this new apple is really encouraging worldwide.”

The two will join an extensive Oneonta Washington apple manifest that includes not only the iconic Red and Golden Delicious but also other popular varietals such as Honeycrisp, Gala, Fuji and Jonagold.

Kroger names Scot Hendricks president of Delta division

The Kroger Co. has promoted Scot Hendricks to president of Kroger's Delta division, effective Oct. 1. Kroger's Delta division is based in Memphis, TN, and operates stores in western Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri.krogerlogo

Hendricks replaces Tim Brown, who was recently named president of Kroger's Cincinnati/Dayton division.

"Scot is a strong leader with extensive experience in both merchandising and operations," Fred Morganthall, Kroger's executive vice president of retail operations, said in a press release. "Scot lives our values and brings out the best in our associates. We look forward to his leadership of our Delta division."

Hendricks began his career with Kroger in 1981, in the Nashville division management training program. He was named grocery buyer in 1983, and served in several leadership roles in the Atlanta division from 1986 to 2000.

In 2000, Hendricks was promoted to Kroger's general office, where he served in several roles of increasing responsibility, including vice president of grocery merchandising and procurement. In 2011, he was promoted to vice president of merchandising in the company's Cincinnati/Dayton division, where he served until he was appointed to his current role as vice president of operations in 2014.

Hendricks and his wife, Jill, will relocate to the Memphis area.

Albertsons expects $1.84 billion from IPO

Albertsons has said it expects to raise $1.84 billion in its initial public offering, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company filed a registration statement with the Securities & Exchange Commission for the IPO July 8, and at the time Albertsons said it planned to raise $100 million in the offering.

A recent Reuters report citing familiar with the matter anticipates it will come together in late September or early October. The company will trade under the "ABS" symbol on the New York Stock Exchange.

Earlier this year Albertsons completed its merger with Safeway, creating a diversified network that includes 2,230 stores, 27 distribution facilities and 19 manufacturing plants with over 250,000 employees across 34 states and the District of Columbia.