Heeren Bros., Inc., Comstock Park, Mich., and Walsma & Lyons, Byron City, Mich., announced a joint venture merger to become what is said to be a leading full-service produce and distribution, brokerage, refrigerated transportation and logistics company.

Re-branded as Vine Line Produce Distribution, the companies’ combined business lines include Heeren Bros. Produce, Vine Line Logistics, Vine Line Trucking and Walsma & Lyons.

“Based on shared vision, values and strengths, the merger between Heeren Bros. and Walsma & Lyons is a dynamic move,” says Joseph D’Ottavio, chief executive officer of Vine Line Produce Distribution. “We are excited about the strategic advantages of working together, while building on core competencies to pursue future growth.”

Walsma & Lyons is a produce brokerage distribution business that provides a full line of fresh fruit and vegetables.

“The produce and transportation landscape is ripe for a company that is willing and able to invest in multiple distribution facilities. Vine Line Produce Distribution has never been more agile and focused on meeting customers’ produce and transportation needs in an ever-changing market,” says Gary Lyons, president of Vine Line Produce Distribution.

Vine Line Produce Distribution operates out of a 180,000-square-foot, LEED-certified, state-of-the-art facility that combines wholesale distribution with cold storage and packaging. A second 46,000-square-foot facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, provides direct distribution into Central Midwest and Western markets.

Heeren Bros. is owned by 42 North Partners, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based private equity firm, maintains partnerships with Michigan apple growers in packing, shipping and storing of fruit crops.