(Dec. 27) The Produce Alliance, a Nashville, Tenn.-based distribution network, has added two Florida companies to its roster, and plans to grow by at least 10% in 2007.

Produce Distribution Center, Jacksonville, Fla., and Downtown Produce, Melbourne, Fla., are new members.

Produce Alliance has 40 distribution centers across the country.

The alliance expects to bring in at least four to six more new members in 2007, said Joe Collier, director of distribution and business development.

“The thing about the way the country is divided with the density of population, we fit those markets,” said Collier, who added that the alliance now covers all but a few markets in the U.S.

Downtown Produce of Melbourne, founded in 1982, reported a sales increase of about 25% since the spring of 2005, when it moved into a new 40,000-square-foot, fully refrigerated facility.

The move to Produce Alliance should lead to sales boosts, said Ian Aker, vice president of Downtown Produce.

“If we can’t cover the whole state of Florida by ourselves and still give our own local customers the service they deserve, Produce Alliance membership is quite beneficial,” he said.

Produce Distribution Center has roots back to the 1880s, said Larry Movsovitz, the company’s third-generation owner.