(Aug. 5) LONGWOOD, Fla. — What’s old is new again.

An application software firm that has been around — in one form or another — for nearly 20 years changed owners July 26. Kirkey Products Group LLC, Longwood, was formed to acquire the assets transferred from the former Kirkey & Associates Inc. to Buyproduce, Irvine, Calif., in April 2001.

Stan Ruggiero, the firm’s chief executive officer and a 12-year employee at Kirkey, is the sole owner of the Kirkey Products Group. The Buyproduce deal was completed July 26 but was retroactive to June 30, said Dan Walborn, Kirkey’s director of marketing.

The ownership change should be transparent to Kirkey’s longtime customers, Walborn said, noting the management, development and support staff remain the same. The only difference: founder Pat Kirkey, who became senior vice president at Buyproduce when he sold his software firm to the e-commerce company, is no longer affiliated with either organization.

Kirkey was interested in reacquiring the assets from Buyproduce, but no agreement could be reached, Walborn said.

For all intents and purposes, the Kirkey software division was all that was left of Buyproduce, the once high-flying e-commerce firm.

“We were about the only ones left from an ongoing operations standpoint,” Walborn said. “In October last year, the board of directors and owners (of Buyproduce) pulled the funding of the e-commerce tools group, and we kind of knew that Kirkey didn’t fit into the long-term venture capital operations.”

Enter CEO Ruggiero.

“The commitment to our industry remains unchanged,” he said. “We are excited about the opportunities and challenges that lie before us. We will continue to supply the ag community with a long and established heritage — a robust, feature-rich and stable ERP solution to run their businesses.”

ERP stands for enterprise resource planning, one of the software industry’s buzzwords. It’s essentially a suite of integrated programs a company needs for all of its operational needs. That includes tracking things at the farm to receiving and processing product at the packinghouse, selling it and receiving payment and then paying growers.

It also covers all financial transactions, the general ledger and payroll, Walborn explained. Other than a new name and owner, most everything else is unchanged.

“It’s basically the same group that’s been intact for 18 years,” Walborn said. “It’s the same location, same staff. We still have the same management team, other than Pat Kirkey. And now, since we do have a new company and funding for it, we’re really back in control of our own destiny.”