WARRENS, Wis. — California-based dried fruit industry leaders John Potter and Willie Traina have joined forces to form American Berry Company (American Berry) by acquiring the CranGrow cranberry processing facility in Warrens, Wisconsin. 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 coowns New Aces Pecan Company, a Las Cruces, NM based pecan plant. The launch of American Berry is a natural evolution for the two companies, and a perfect complement to the overall business portfolio, adding more value to the overall customer experience.
“The facility acquisition and formation of American Berry provides unequaled synergies for Traina Foods, Innovative Sales and local cranberry growers,” said Willie Traina. 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.”
The processing facility is located in Warrens, Wisconsin – the heart of the world’s largest cranberry producing region. Completed in 2016, the American Berry plant features over fifty-eight thousand square feet of processing space, the latest in dried fruit processing technology that can maximize dried cranberry processing efficiencies and, when fully operational, will employ approximately seventy people.
DeVore added that 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,” he said. “Our new ownership team is committed to the same familyowned 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.”
— American Berry Company