(March 9) With his 65th birthday looming this summer, Jerry Bowden has been thinking about the future of his employees as well as his own. That’s why Bowden, a co-owner of McCartney Produce Co. Inc., Paris, Tenn., sold the company to IF&P Foods Inc., Indianapolis.

“I wanted to have a succession plan,” said Bowden, whose partner David McCartney died in November at age 62. “I wanted to take care of the employees. Some of the management team has been here more than 25 years.”

Bowden, who will remain with McCartney as chief operating officer, said all 135 employees have been retained by IF&P, the parent company of Indianapolis Fruit Co. Inc. and Piazza Produce Inc.

Terms of the deal, which closed Jan. 31, were not disclosed.

McCartney is a broadline distributor that services parts of 10 states with a fleet of 50 trucks. Bowden said the company’s sales are 60% retail and 40% foodservice. The sale, he said, expanded McCartney’s line by giving the company access to Indianapolis Fruit’s organic, specialty and fresh-cut programs. He said McCartney is sourcing those items from Indianapolis Fruit three times a week.

Mike Mascari, chairman of IF&P and president of Indianapolis Fruit, said McCartney had $40 million in sales last year. He said McCartney likely will have to move from its existing location, which already has been expanded multiple times in its 47 years, if it reaches its growth potential.

Mascari said the deal will help IF&P grow as well. Indianapolis Fruit serves retail customers in a 480-mile radius, he said, while foodservice distributor Piazza covers a 200-mile radius.