May 23, 2023

Panama Banana Joins FreshEdge

Combination further expands FreshEdge’s presence in the Midwest

Chicago, Ill.  FreshEdge, a super-regional distributor of fresh food solutions backed by Wind Point Partners (“Wind Point”), acquired Panama Banana (“Panama”), a wholesaler and distributor of fine produce in the Chicago International Produce Market. For nearly a century, Panama has built a solid reputation as one of Chicago’s leading distributors of fine produce by serving customers with the same focus: a passion for freshness, quality and ease of doing business that is second to none. Panama is housed in a state-of-the-art facility that offers ripening rooms, cold coolers, climate-controlled docks, produce packaging and repacking and logistical support.


The acquisition enhances FreshEdge’s presence in the Midwest, particularly Chicago, and provides additional warehousing capacity and value-added ripening services to better serve its combined retail and foodservice customers. Panama joins a growing family of brands that includes Piazza Produce & Specialty Foods, Indianapolis Fruit, Get Fresh Produce, City Produce, McCartney Produce, Monteverde’s, Valley Produce, Vine Line, Garden Cut, CIBUS Fresh, Papania’s and Testa Produce.


“We are thrilled to welcome Todd and Deke Pappas and their team to the FreshEdge family,” noted Steve Grinstead, CEO of FreshEdge. “With their same commitment to customer service, Panama will be a great addition to our growing group of customer-obsessed distributors.”


“We proudly welcome Panama to FreshEdge,” said Greg Corsaro, President and COO of FreshEdge. “The addition of Panama not only enhances our family, but our pursuit to be the preeminent family of best-in-class fresh food companies.”


“Our Panama team is thrilled to join FreshEdge,” said Todd Pappas, President of Panama. “This is the next step in increasing our footprint, serving customers with expanded offerings and growing for our future.”


“We are excited about this great opportunity,” stated Deke Pappas, COO of Panama. “We look forward to continuing to provide the same unmatched level of service to our customers and are happy to share that Nick Florek will continue his leadership as VP/General Manager.”


Joe Lawler, Managing Director with Wind Point Partners, added, “Continuing to expand FreshEdge’s service offerings within our core footprint is critical to our value creation plan. The addition of Panama’s capacity and capabilities is exciting for our combined customers and employees.  We look forward to continuing to support the M&A effort alongside management.”


Wind Point Partners acquired FreshEdge in October 2022 in partnership with CEO Steve Grinstead and President & COO, Greg Corsaro, two veterans in the fresh produce distribution space. This acquisition represents the second acquisition under Wind Point’s ownership, following the addition of Testa Produce in May 2023. FreshEdge’s acquisition strategy will continue to focus on acquiring fresh food distribution companies with high quality produce and specialty food products along with exceptional service and a strong brand reputation. Geographically, FreshEdge is focused on both new and existing geographies, including the Midwest, Southeast and Southwest U.S.