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Michigan-based Meijer shakes up retail scene in Wisconsin

Grand Rapids, MI-based Meijer, a retailer that operates 213 supercenters and grocery stores through Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky, is now setting its sights on its next target — southeast Wisconsin.

As a pioneer in the "one-stop shopping" concept, Meijer will be taking its full-service stores into Wisconsin's highly competitive grocery market next summer by opening its first grocery/general merchandise supercenters in the region.

Plans for expansion into Wisconsin include opening stores in Wauwatosa, Oak Creek, Grafton and Kenosha in 2015, followed by locations in Waukesha, Greenfield and Sussex in 2016.

"It's a big deal for us," Hank Meijer, co-owner, co-chairman and chief executive officer of the retail chain, told the Journal Sentinel. "We've been in the five [states] for what, 20 years now. It's been a long time since we've opened up a new frontier for our company."

The company is investing $750 million and adding 7,000 jobs in order to establish itself in the state of Wisconsin, according to J.K. Symancyk, president of Meijer.

The supercenters include expanded fresh produce and meat departments; clothing for men, women and children; sporting goods; Meijer-branded products; and seasonal merchandise such as grills and landscape supplies. The stores will also have on-site pharmacies and gas stations.

Wonderful Halos entering second year of promotional campaign

"Wonderful Halos," the easy-peel variety of Mandarin oranges marketed by Paramount Citrus, is entering the second year of an unprecedented multi-million dollar promotional campaign and will feature new television spots and point-of-sale materials to drive consumption.

Delano, CA-based Paramount Citrus brought "Wonderful Halos" to the market last year after previously marketing easy-peel Mandarins under the "Cuties" brand in partnership with Sun Pacific Cos.

HalosRGB When announcing the launch of "Wonderful Halos" last year, Paramount backed its introduction with the announcement of a $100 million five-year promotional plan.

In year two of the promotional program, Paramount said another $20 million will be dedicated toward "Wonderful Halos." Highlighting the year two program are four new 15-second television spots that will air on early morning, prime, syndicated and cable television programs. The commercials, which began airing Nov. 10, showcase how "Wonderful Halos" are the perfect snack for the entire family to enjoy, and they capture the extent to which kids will go to get them.

Additionally, a Halos interactive mobile app, "Halos Fun," is available in the App Store and Google Play to promote healthy snacking with the popular fruit.

Paramount bolstered its supply of "Wonderful Halos" last month when it entered into a partnership with Mulholland Citrus, one of the top California-based Mandarin farming, packing and sales operations, under which Paramount is now the exclusive sales agent for Mulholland's Mandarins.

The partnership strengthens the ability of the Halos program to broaden the branded market and reach a wider set of consumers, according to a news release issued by Paramount.

Infinity Transportation to launch new expedited refrigerated intermodal service from the Pacific Northwest

Infinity Transportation is launching a new expedited refrigerated domestic intermodal container service operating from the Pacific Northwest to the Midwest and East Coast.  

IT's new intermodal operating platform, Infinity Transportation Logistics LLC. is headquartered in Atlanta, with daily operations being managed from a dedicated location in Kansas City, MO.

ITL will launch its new service in mid-November 2014 with state-of-the-art 53-foot refrigerated containers built for domestic service. The primary focus of the business will be moving frozen foods and other refrigerated products from Washington state and Oregon to the Midwest and the East Coast, with return service to Washington and Oregon. The service will be the only regularly scheduled refrigerated domestic intermodal service from Washington state to the Midwest and East Coast.

The new ITL expedited door-to-door intermodal service will depart intermodal ramps in Seattle and Spokane, WA, and Portland, OR, six days per week. Load transit time is projected to be about six days to the Midwest and eight to nine days to various destinations on the East Coast.

Infinity Transportation Logistics LLC. will have a service radius of about 160 miles from intermodal ramps in Seattle, Spokane and Portland. As a result, ITL will be able serve many parts of Washington, Oregon and Idaho including the greater Portland area, Willamette Valley, Hood River, the Columbia Basin of Washington and Oregon, the Yakima Valley, Skagit Valley, the Puget Sound area and the greater Spokane area.

ITL will also bring refrigerated and frozen foods and some dry goods back from the Midwest and East Coast to the Pacific Northwest.

New more restrictive driver regulations have caused capacity constraints for over-the-road refrigerated service, according to ITL, which said the introduction of this intermodal service has had an excellent reception as an additional long-haul shipping option in this corridor.


Archie Manning to keynote Southern Exposure

The Southeast Produce Council has announced that legendary football star Archie Manning will be the keynote speaker at the council's 2015 conference and trade show, known as Southern Exposure.

Southern Exposure will take place Feb. 26-28, 2015, at the Caribe Royale All-Suite Hotel & Convention Center in Orlando, FL. Manning will deliver the keynote address Saturday, Feb. 28, during the luncheon and general session.

"We are very happy to have someone with his legacy," SEPC Executive Director David Sherrod told The Produce News Nov. 10. "The family he comes from is so well known to people in the South and around the country. He will be a very inspiring speaker, and we are really looking forward to listening to him."

Archie-ManningArchie ManningWhen people think of Archie Manning, they think football, but his appeal transcends his athletic achievements. He was selected Father of the Year by the National Father's Day Council, and he currently serves in public relations and consulting capacities for several local, regional and national companies.

His community activities include the Louisiana Special Olympics, the New Orleans Area Boy Scout Council, the Salvation Army, United Way Speakers Bureau, Allstate Sugar Bowl Committee and the New Orleans Sports Foundation.

Elisha Archibald Manning III was born May 19, 1949, in Drew, MS. He attended the University of Mississippi, where he was named an All-American quarterback and had his number retired. He was voted Mississippi's Greatest All-Time Athlete in 1992, and was named the state's Most Popular Athlete of the Century.

Manning was drafted four times by Major League Baseball, but he chose football for his professional livelihood.

In 1971 he was the second player chosen in the National Football League draft and was the No. 1 draft choice of the New Orleans Saints. He set Saints passing records, played in two Pro Bowls and was named the NFC Most Valuable Player in 1978. He played for the Saints from 1971 to 1982, then for the Houston Oilers and Minnesota Vikings.

Manning and his wife, Olivia, reside in New Orleans and have three sons. Cooper, the oldest, is a partner with Howard Weil, an energy investment banking firm in New Orleans. Their two other sons are perhaps just as well known to many football fans as Archie is. Peyton is currently the starting quarterback with the Denver Broncos, and Eli is currently the starting quarterback with the New York Giants. Archie and Olivia also have seven grandchildren.

For additional information about Southern Exposure or to register for the event, visit

Oppy cherries make holidays merry

Cherries have made the Oppenheimer Group's list of top items to promote over the upcoming holiday season, joining the traditional favorites Ocean Spray fresh cranberries and Japanese mandarins.

With their festive red color and resemblance to holiday ornaments, winter cherries just might become a new tradition for many.

Import cherries are more plentiful than ever, according to Evan Myers, Oppy's executive category director of South American imports, who noted that the increased cherry plantings in Chile and Argentina could mean the tradition is here to stay.

"We're recommending cherries for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's promotions," he said in a press release. "While most people see cherries as a summer item, they are even more of a special treat during the fall and winter months."

Oppy's first Chilean cherries of the season arrived during the last week in October — 10 days earlier than in 2013. Its Argentine cherry program begins in late November. Oppy cherries should be available at least through the third week in January.

"Our cherries are packed in the popular, eye-catching stand-up pouch bags," Myers said in the press release. "They are a perfect impulse purchase and can be easily merchandised as a convenient, distinctive item to bring to holiday gatherings or just enjoy during this busy time of year."

As well, Oppy plans to market Argentine cherries in Cookie Monster-themed packaging as part of the Sesame Street eat brighter! program when the fruit becomes available later this month.

The Oppenheimer Group complements its import cherry program with fruit grown by Orchard View Farms of The Dalles, OR, during the summer.