(Sept. 17) FRESNO, Calif. — A new retail services company is being spun out of RJO Produce Marketing.

RJO, an 11-year-old company that specializes in market analysis, inspection, procurement and category management for summer fruit, is spinning off its retail services into a company called FreshEdge Inc.

Dan Lyman, who has been vice president of business development for RJO, opened FreshEdge Sept. 15 in Buffalo Grove, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, where he has been based for several years.

RJO and FreshEdge are separate companies but will operate in a strategic alliance that will allow Lyman and FreshEdge to provide the same services to RJO customers that Lyman had handled when he was with RJO, said John O’Rourke, RJO president.

Meanwhile, RJO will continue to provide year-round on-ground field representation services, including inspection services, market analysis and produce procurement in summer fruit categories, he said.

“This allows Dan the autonomy to go after other commodities that we don’t represent, like Georgia peaches or Michigan blueberries, or even some on the vegetable side,” O’Rourke said. “And we’ll still work with him.”

MORE THAN SUMMER FRUIT

O’Rourke said RJO was finding success with its services but that there were more retail needs to be served beyond the summer fruit category.

“The FreshEdge approach helps improve the performance of more than just the products we represent,” he said.

O’Rourke said this new move has nothing to do with the recent departure of his brother, Rob O’Rourke, who co-founded RJO with him.

Rob O’Rourke in early September left as president of RJO to become vice president of produce for Topco Associates Inc., a retail buying cooperative based in Skokie, Ill.