(Sept. 4) BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — Hot on the heels of its purchase of Lewisville, Texas-based Fleming Cos. Inc., C&S Wholesale Grocers has reached a deal with another well-known industry name.

The company has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with The Nunes Co. Inc., Salinas, Calif., that will allow C&S to distribute a variety of vegetables under the Foxy brand.

C&S test marketed the brand earlier this year, but the licensing agreement didn’t become official until early September. C&S has already started packaging cucumbers, mixed bell peppers, tomatoes, squash, cabbage and snap peas with the Foxy brand.

Nunes has signed similar licensing agreements in the past. In 2000, the company licensed the Foxy brand to Foxy Foods LLC, Salinas, for use in value-added fresh produce items. And in 2001, Valhalla Sales and Marketing Co., Kingsburg, Calif., began using the Foxy brand for a line of citrus products including valencia oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit.

The C&S deal, however, marks the first time the brand has been licensed to a wholesale grocer.

Todd Schneider, category manager for C&S, said the deal is starting off small but will be expanded by the end of the year.

“Currently, we are doing about 8,000 cases per week,” he said. “We plan on making that 17,000-20,000 by the end of the year.”

Right now, club store BJ’s Wholesale Club, Natick, Mass., is the primary outlet for the vegetables, but Schneider said that would expand as the deal goes forward. The agreement signed is for marketing exclusively on the East Coast, though Schneider acknowledged the possibility that the Fleming deal could change that.

“Our agreement with Foxy is for the East Coast,” he said. “But there are always opportunities. Now that C&S is in California, we could take it with us. But we don’t want to over grow it.”

Schneider said C&S will continue to focus on its East Coast operations for now, including adding a second shift in its packing facility and the possibility of building a second facility next year to keep up with demand.

“We’re almost reaching capacity in our current building,” he said.

Schneider said C&S went with Nunes and the Foxy brand because there was a need for prepackaged vegetables with a known brand along the East Coast.

“At the time (we started thinking about it), there was only Green Giant and Birds Eye,” he said. “We were looking at putting a quality raw product into a bag.”