(Nov. 1) JESSUP, Md. — Three companies have become one through the magic of consolidation.

W.D. Class & Son has consolidated its market operation and added office space at its location 2 miles from the Maryland Wholesale Produce Market.

Former subsidiaries J.C. Banana & Co. and JLW Produce, and W.D. Class & Son all now operate under a new banner — The Class Produce Group.

The biggest change is a consolidated inventory, said Bill Class, president.

“We just think that we will better serve the customer in the long run because we’ll be able to have one invoice, and the customer can write one check, and a shipper will have one person they’re shipping to, as far as when we’re buying,” he said.

Consolidation cuts down on the potential for confusion, Class added.

“Sometimes, some customers only end up dealing with one of the entities, and they don’t make that connection,” he said.

The company has made improvements to its distribution facility near the Jessup market. Among them is the installation of dock levelers, which, Class said, makes loading and unloading safer and more efficient.

“It gives us a lot more capacity and allows us to do a better job of putting product in proper temperature zones, because of its racking and cooler spaces,” he said. “We refrigerated a dock space for half of the building that was previously unrefrigerated, so we can maintain temperature when a customer backs up to the door or when we need to load a truck.”