Wednesday, January 27, 2021
John Potter and Willie Traina will certainly be up their hip waders in cranberries as owners of American Cranberry Company. Contributed photo

California company buys CranGrow facility in Warrens

The facility in Warrens that was once CranGrow is now known as American Cranberry Company.

American Cranberry is a California based dried fruit company that is a joint venture of Innovative Sale, Inc., and Traina Foods.

California-based dried fruit industry leaders John Potter and Willie Traina  joined forces to form American Berry Company (American Berry) by acquiring the CranGrow cranberry processing facility in Warrens. The facility was built in 2016 under significant fanfare and excitement for local cranberry growers who were involved in shipping fruit.

But the business plan eventually fizzled and the facility ceased operations. Potter and Traina are confident the plant can succeed.

“The facility acquisition and formation of American Berry provides unequaled synergies for Traina Foods, Innovative Sales and local cranberry growers,” said Traina. 

American Berry will be led by newly appointed CEO Alan DeVore, a veteran executive in the dried fruit industry with strong ties to Wisconsin cranberry growers. The new ownership team represents multiple generations of experience in the dried fruit industry. From its family farm in California’s San Joaquin Valley, Traina Foods grows, sundries and produces premium sundried fruit. Innovative Sales, Inc. is a centralized source for high quality bulk raw and processed nuts and dried fruit ingredients. 

In addition to co-owning Innovative Sales, Potter also co-owns New Aces Pecan Company, a Las Cruces, NM based pecan plant. American Berry is a natural evolution for the two companies, and a perfect complement to the overall business portfolio.

"The individual sales strengths of Traina Foods and Innovative Sales in the Industrial, Foodservice, CPG and export markets combined with American Berry’s ability to provide high quality dried cranberries provides seamless vertical integration benefiting our existing and future customers, the local cranberry community and the industry at large," Potter said. 

The processing facility plant is over fifty-eight thousand square feet of processing space, the latest in dried fruit processing technology that can maximize dried cranberry processing efficiencies. When fully operational it is expected to employ approximately 70 people. 

American Berry is in the process of filling staff positions at all levels at the Warrens facility. 

“After a great 2020 harvest, we’re excited to offer new employment opportunities and become fully operational. We are reaching out to former Warrens employees in the hopes that we’ll see some familiar faces return,” DeVore said. “Our new ownership team is committed to the same family owned business approach at American Berry that both Traina Foods and Innovative Sales has taken for generations through a focus on local impact, including competitive employment packages and ongoing community engagement.” 

The facility acquisition is good news for growers in the Warrens area. 

“We’re proud to join the Wisconsin cranberry community and bring new energy and perspective to the Warrens plant,” added Traina. “Our entire team is committed to being a trustworthy, local and innovative part of this incredible grower community. As long-time growers ourselves, we understand the desires and concerns of cranberry growers and can be a better partner because of it.” 

CranGrow board member Linda Prehn echoed that sentiment. 

“This is great news for our growers and the community, and we welcome the new owners to the Wisconsin cranberry family. They are a well-established, knowledgeable and successful team that is sure to inject new energy and expertise into the facility and industry," Prehn said.

For more information on American Berry Company, visit www.americanberryco.com. About Innovative Sales, Inc. Headquartered in Modesto, California, Innovative Sales, Inc. is a centralized source for high quality bulk raw and processed nuts. It sells to domestic and international customers and is aligned with high quality packers of almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, pistachios, macadamias, seeds, cranberries and other domestic and imported dried fruits. 

Co-owner John Potter is also co-owner of New Aces Pecan Company. For more information please visit innovativeingredientsales.com. 

About Traina Foods, Inc. From its family farm in California’s San Joaquin Valley, Traina Foods grows, sundries and produces premium sundried fruit for Industrial ingredient and Foodservice customers around the world. Known for its world class capabilities and innovation, Traina is the supplier of dried fruit for the largest Foodservice distributors and CPG companies in the world. For more information please visit trainafoods.com. About CranGrow Cranberry Growers (CranGrow) was founded by over 30 Wisconsin cranberry growers. The growing operations that constitute the cooperative are family-owned and operated farms that have been passed on from generation to generation, many for over 100 years.

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