(July 29) NILES, Mich. — An Eastern vegetable shipper-distributor describes the closing of its previous businesses and opening under a new company name as the result of forming a new company.

SMP Marketing LLC, Niles, is the new name for Cal M. Seel & Son Inc., Deerfield Beach, Fla.

In late June, Seel & Son closed its locations in Niles; Deerfield Beach and Boca Raton, Fla.; Lake Park, Ga.; Hartford, Mich.; and Edinburg, Texas.

On July 8, the locations reopened under the SMP name.

GROWERS BEING REPAID

Growers that supplied Seel & Son peppers, cucumbers, squash and beans are being repaid, said Greg Seel, SMP Marketing’s president.
“Everybody is or will be cleaned up,” said Seel. “They’re all in the process of being repaid. Cal Seel & Son is closing, but we’re paying all their bills.”

The new name represents the company’s owners, Akin & Porter Produce Inc., Greenfield, Tenn., a vegetable shipper and broker; Seel; and Chris Manwell and Sam Correa, former Cal Seel salesmen, Seel said.

’CHANCE TO SPREAD OUT’

“This will give us a chance to spread out a little, give us more supplies and be at the ground level more than we have been in the past,” said Joe Porter, Akin & Porter president and SMP Marketing’s vice president.

The addition of Akin & Porter’s buying ability and Greenfield consolidation house, home of SMP Marketing’s corporate headquarters, will provide improved distribution, Seel said.

Akin & Porter represents okra growers in Mexico and has partnered with a jobber in Nogales, Ariz. The company has Moore & Porter Produce of Thomasville Inc., Thomasville, Ga., and Akin & Porter Produce of Plant City Inc., Plant City, Fla.

SMP Marketing, which sells to retail, foodservice and wholesale customers in 48 states, represents nearly 30 growers in Georgia, Florida and Texas.