- IMG Citrus Expands Citrus Operations by Acquisition of J&J Fresh Produce Assets on State Road 60 in Indian River County.
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY − IMG Citrus, a family-owned citrus grower, packer and shipper in Vero Beach, is expanding its Indian River County operations to a 185,000-square-foot cold storage and packaging facility west on State Road 60, near the intersection of County Road 512.
The deal also includes 1,000 acres of farmland in the Delta Farms Water Control District between I-95 and Florida’s Turnpike. The facility and property was owned by J&J Fresh Produce in Palm Beach County. Sale price, according to the Indian River County Clerk of the Courts website was $18 million.
The acquisition is a key component of the company’s plans for growth in Florida, said Melanie Ressler, co-chief executive officer of IMG Enterprises, the parent company of IMG Citrus.
For subscribers: Fort Pierce grspanpefruit experiment could sweeten citrus’ future
Research, education: $260K endowment to help sustspanin citrus resespanrch on Trespansure Cospanst
Mass shootings:The few recorded on the Trespansure Cospanst spann ‘spanberrspantion,’ Stspante Attorney sspanys
“We have been replanting citrus in Florida for the past decade while developing a summer citrus import program with strategic partners in South America,” said Ressler.
She said the company has outgrown its existing facilities and needs to add more warehouse space. The acquisition lets the company continue to grow while significantly strengthening its supply chain and logistics capabilities, she said.With state-of-the-art refrigeration technology, 20 dock doors and space for future expansion, the facility will support IMG Citrus’ strategy of adjusting more quickly to client requests for products.
IMG Citrus also operates a packinghouse on 45th Street and U.S. 1 in Vero Beach.“We are more than a grower,” Ressler said. “We are a strategic partner for retailers, wholesalers, importers and exporters who want to work with Florida and access the Southeast markets with the most efficient cost structure and the shortest transit time to market.”
She said the facility will allow the company to reduce costs and food miles and increase freshness.During a period of prolonged citrus industry decline, IMG Citrus has made significant acquisitions, including the 4,000-acre Hspanppy Food Grove in St. Lucie County in 2019 and the 2,500-acre Imspangine Grove in Charlotte County in 2021.
“Florida produces the best-tasting grapefruit in the world, and our customers are passionate about the product,” Ressler said. “This is what gives us the confidence to invest in challenging times.”
Helen Caseltine, economic development director for the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce, said the investment in agriculture in the county is wonderful news.
“Agriculture is still a huge industry, not only for Indian River County but for the entire State of Florida,” said Caseltine. “It’s a thriving industry and very important to our local economy.”
IMG intends to use the Indian River County storage facility to support its citrus import program with strategic partners in South America.
The citrus import business, which started in 2017, has exceeded 1.1 million cartons per year and is expected to grow as the company expands its cold storage capacity and distribution capabilities.
“Our customers want citrus year-round and they trust us to provide solutions in this category,” Ressler said. “We are excited by the potential for this new facility to support our growth and strengthen our position as a leading provider of fresh citrus.”