Red Jacket Orchards and New York Apple Sales Join Forces
- by Anne Allen
GLENMONT, NY - Red Jacket Orchards (RJO) and New York Apple Sales, Inc. (NYAS) agreed to join their fresh apple marketing programs to provide better service and more opportunities for their customers.
“Bringing our two sales forces together to better serve the apple and juice markets only makes sense,” said Mark Nicholson, Fresh Business President and Co-Owner, RJO. “Presently, we are serving customers at the same time with either fresh apples or fresh juice, and with today’s increasing pressure on trucking logistics, combining our orders will greatly benefit both of our customers. Our plan is for the RJO sales force to continue managing the juice sales, while NYAS will focus on the fresh apple category. Both teams will continue to concentrate on what they do best. Additionally, NYAS’s much larger distribution network will be a huge benefit for both our companies, and more importantly for our customers.”
Mike Messler, Production and Logistics Manager for NYAS added, “Because of new federal regulations, trucking can be a huge problem. The cost of trucking is increasing while the availability of trucks is decreasing. Any consolidation of orders will benefit us all. Also, the RJO juice plant is within 35 miles of the NYAS packing operation where the RJO apples will be packed.”
According to a press release, RJO has built its brand for fresh apples for decades, and over the years has developed a following in New York City and other regional markets.
“We are pleased to now be able to continue the brand penetration with the RJO label in their existing markets, as well as expanding into new markets,” stated John Cushing, VP of Sales for NYAS. “We are excited about having the RJO fresh apple brand in our wheelhouse. Already, I can see the synergies that will take place with customers we are both serving. They do juice, we do apples. It is a great fit! In the future we expect that we can expand both categories.”
He wasn’t the only excited about the merge.
“Both of our companies have deep roots in the New York Apple industry,” said Kaari Stannard, Owner of NYAS. “My step-dad, Marty Michelson, Founder of New York Apple Sales, and Joe Nicholson of RJO, were both industry leaders in the New York apple Industry. Both Joe and Marty were individual entrepreneurs, and they both shared a common goal to grow New York State’s apple industry. With our two companies working together today, we are continuing that goal.”
The Nicholson brothers couldn’t agree more.
“The transition of a family business from one generation to the next is fraught with challenge. However, we just completed the most recent step in that process when Mark and I purchased our father’s portion of the company,” said Brian Nicholson, CEO and Co-Owner of RJO. “Similar to how he spearheaded the company’s growth from a roadside retailer into a commercial apple grower, packer, and shipper after our grandfather retired in the early 1980s, we have set our strategic goals high as well. Mark and I are intent on building a world-class beverage company that is also well grounded in the production of its main raw ingredient in the apple orchard. After examining the opportunities afforded by packing, selling, and distributing through NYAS— specifically their Pomona Packing partners in Wolcott, NY—we decided to cease our fresh apple packing operations in Geneva and move our apples there.”
Kelli Foster manages the branding efforts for RJO, and Jim Allen, Vice President of Marketing, manages the same at NYAS.
“Kelli has been a ‘brand’ builder for RJO and we are looking forward to working with her on all levels,” said Allen. “There’s a wonderful strategic advantage when you can combine an operational power house like NYAS, and a trusted brand of the community like Red Jacket.”
Congratulations to the two companies on this merge!