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About Growers Express

Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2012, Growers Express is a farmer-owned and integrated grower, packer and shipper of premium-quality fresh fruits and vegetables. Founded in 1987, Growers Express grows and distributes more than 40 fresh produce items throughout North America from a year-round ground operation that exceeds 50,000 acres. In 1995, Growers Express became a licensed partner of Green Giant Fresh, which is the nation's most trusted brand in the fresh produce category.




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Sholl Group II Announces Sale of Licensing Rights of Green Giant® FRESH Business to Growers Express, LLC

The Sholl Group II to Focus on Green Giant Fresh Value-Added Products

MINNEAPOLIS – April 23, 2009 – The Sholl Group II announced today the sale of the licensing rights, including the marketing and distribution rights, of its Green Giant Fresh commodity produce business to California-based Growers Marketing, LLC, an affiliate of Growers Express, LLC, which was formed to be the operating unit to manage this venture.  The key element of the transaction is the Master Trademark License Agreement with General Mills, Inc., the owner of the Green Giant brand, for fresh produce.  Potandon Produce, LLC, is not involved in this transaction.
The Sholl Group II will continue to offer Green Giant Fresh value-added products under a new sub-licensing agreement with Growers Marketing, LLC.  The company’s current co-packing agreements, key employees and extensive network of regional processors will remain in place with no interruption in service expected.  The Green Giant Fresh valued-added line includes:

  • Green Giant Fresh Steam Line consists of vegetableswith chef created sauces thatcome in a unique steaming bag which allows consumers to steam them perfectly in a microwave in about two minutes;

  • Green Giant Fresh Stir-Fries, fresh vegetables with delicious sauces already included in sauce packets so consumers can choose how much sauce they want to use and they have the flexibility to add chicken, shrimp or beef;

  • Green Giant Fresh Cut Vegetables, fresh cut vegetables in a steaming bag, making it easy for consumers to create their own vegetable trays, mix into salads, add to pasta, or eat on their own; and

  • Green Giant Fresh Patio Grillers, grill kits complete with fresh cut produce, chef-inspired sauces and a recyclable, no-mess grill tray.

All Green Giant Fresh products can be found in the produce aisle of grocery stores.


“The Sholl Group team has increasingly turned its attention and efforts to developing a value-added Green Giant Fresh business.  We recognized that Growers Express, a long term important part of the Green Giant Fresh commodity business, would bring increased focus to the licensing business,” said Jeff Sholl, founder/president/principal owner of The Sholl Group.  “Growers Express has proven strategic strength, leadership and expertise in the fresh produce business.  They know and understand the entire fresh produce business cycle, from farm to retailers.  We expect a smooth transition and look forward to working with them in this new capacity.”


“We are excited about this opportunity to work closer with all of our Green Giant Fresh partners as well as our respective customers to further develop this brand which has one of the longest and most respected legacies in the retail sector,” said Jamie Strachan, CEO and president of Growers Express, LLC.  “We have been very proud to be a licensing partner of Green Giant Fresh branded products, and we look forward to further leveraging our fresh produce expertise.  Our organization is well positioned to grow the Green Giant Fresh line of products and leverage the tremendous brand equity of the Green Giant brand throughout the fresh produce category.”


Woody Johnson, a longtime veteran of the produce industry and senior vice president of Growers Express, LLC, will serve as general manager of the venture.  Johnson brings more than 35 years of industry experience, including key management roles in fresh vegetables, tropical fruits and value-added produce. 

About The Sholl Group II
The Sholl Group, Inc./Green Giant Fresh was formed in 1995 by Jeff Sholl to continue building the Green Giant Fresh brand under license to The Pillsbury Company.  The Green Giant brand was created by The Pillsbury Company and later acquired by General Mills, Inc.  Sholl acquired the rights to Green Giant Fresh from Pillsbury in 1995.  The Green Giant brand is recognized by 96 percent of consumers and continues to provide consumers with a variety of high quality, value-added fresh produce.  The company’s corporate office is located in Eden Prairie, Minn.  To learn more about the company, visit www.greengiantfresh.com.

About Growers Express, LLC
Growers Express, LLC, was founded in 1987 by eight produce growers who all believed in a few simple values: Producing their own premium quality products, consistent supply and superior service.  The owners have taken three generations of knowledge and respect for the land and developed it into one of the nation’s largest suppliers of fresh vegetables.  Based in Salinas Valley, Calif., the company’s total year-round base exceeds 50,000 acres.  Growers Express offers more than 40 fresh produce items on a year-round basis including commodity produce, a full line of bunched items and several value-added packs.  For additional information about Growers Express, go to www.GrowersExpress.com.

CONTACTS:           

Darci Eckermann
The Sholl Group II
(952) 475-9088, X113
DEckermann@sholl.com

 

Woody Johnson
Growers Marketing
(831) 751-1341
WJohnson@GrowersExpress.com

 

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