Leonardo’s Produce (“Leonardo’s”), a distributor of fresh produce and specialty products, joined FreshEdge, a family of produce and specialty food companies backed by Rotunda Capital Partners, further diversifying the group’s combined customer base and increasing its breadth and depth of service offerings in Michigan and Ohio. Leonardo’s joins a growing family that includes Piazza Produce & Specialty Foods, Indianapolis Fruit, Get Fresh, McCartney Produce, Garden Cut, Cibus Fresh and Papania’s.
FreshEdge will now operate with 1,400 employees, more than 580,000 square feet of warehouse space, and a fleet of 600 trucks. “We are pleased to continue to build our family of ‘Best in Class’ fresh food distribution companies that are supported by our group of vertically integrated value-added operations,” said Steve Grinstead, CEO of FreshEdge.
Terms of the deal, which closed on December 31, 2020, were not disclosed. The transaction positions the combined business as one of the largest independent fresh and specialty food distributors in the U.S. “We are excited to have Leonardo’s join the FreshEdge family,” said Greg Corsaro, president and COO of FreshEdge. “We believe the addition greatly enhances FreshEdge’s ability to serve foodservice and retail customers throughout Michigan and Northern Ohio. We welcome Sam Maniaci and his team.”
Founded in 1972, Leonardo’s distributes fresh produce and specialty products to foodservice customers from its recently renovated facility in Detroit, Michigan. Sam Maniaci will continue to lead Leonardo’s as president, and the company’s operations will carry on from its current facility. “By teaming up with FreshEdge, Leonardo’s will expand its selection of specialty items and fresh cut processed products such as fresh salads, sandwiches, and healthy snack items – while providing exceptional customer service to our current and future customers,” said Sam Maniaci, president of Leonardo’s. “We are proud of our heritage and look forward to this new era of opportunity and growth for Leonardo’s.”
FreshEdge is backed by Rotunda Capital Partners, a Bethesda, Maryland-based private equity firm that invests equity capital in established lower middle-market companies. Rotunda provides opportunities for management teams to reach strategic, financial, and operational objectives. Rotunda entered the food business in 2017 with the acquisition of Indianapolis Fruit and Piazza Produce. FreshEdge was created in 2019 when Get Fresh joined the platform. Leonardo’s represents FreshEdge’s fourth acquisition since Rotunda’s investment. Together, Rotunda and FreshEdge intend to continue expanding FreshEdge by welcoming more companies into the group—all focused on high quality produce and specialty food products, along with exceptional service—to create a unique team of complementary entities.
FreshEdge was formed in 2019 through the combination of Get Fresh Produce (founded 1982) and the IF&P Foods family of companies, primarily composed of Indianapolis Fruit (founded 1947) and Piazza Produce (founded 1970). Collectively, the three leading fresh food distribution companies have nearly 150 years of combined experience serving the grocery and food service industries. In addition, FreshEdge includes two Garden Cut branded fresh-cut processing facilities, a tomato re-packer, a USDA fresh kitchen (CIBUS Fresh), and two transportation companies. FreshEdge’s fleet resource includes 600 trucks servicing the Midwest and beyond from eight facilities totaling over 580,000 square feet of warehouse space. Today, FreshEdge is a category leader in providing both the foodservice and retail industries with fruit, vegetables, fresh grab-n-go offerings, dairy, floral, and specialty products.