(Oct. 17) A new name on the packs of tropical fruits and vegetables shipped by a longtime grower, importer and distributor should help it enter retail and foodservice markets.

Miami-based wholesaler J&C Enterprises Inc. on Oct. 10 changed its name to J&C Tropicals and has stepped up its marketing to help it sell more product to new business segments.

“We determined that no one really knows what J&C Enterprises is,” said Mark Vertrees, marketing director. “It doesn’t mean anything to the trade. We wanted a name that better reflects our growing tropical category.”

Celebrating its 40th year of selling boniato, malanga, yucca and 50 other tropical produce items, the business, founded by Cuban immigrants, also has brought in Vertrees, who runs his own produce marketing and merchandising company.

Vertrees worked more than a dozen years in produce marketing for HLB Tropical Food USA Inc., Plantation, Fla.; Sunkist Growers Inc., Sherman Oaks, Calif.; and Winn-Dixie Stores Inc., Jacksonville, Fla.

While some retailers are making efforts to sell to the Hispanics and other consumer segments that look for tropicals, many aren’t satisfactorily marketing them, Vertrees said.

Adrian Capote, J&C’s vice president of sales, said the move to direct distribution to retail customers should help business.

“Not only do we import but are growers in different South American countries. The retailers and foodservice will be getting product and pricing directly from the source,” he said. “A majority of the retailers are being supplied by intermediate companies that buy tropicals from us.”

J&C expects to sell 12 million cases of tropicals this year, he said. Last year it had $34 million in sales.