LENEXA, Kan. – Vance Publishing Corporation, publisher of The Packer, the produce industry’s leading source of news, information and trends, purchased social network Produce Universe (www.produceuniverse.com) with plans to broaden its value to the industry.

The Packer plans to use the Produce Universe brand to encompass a growing stable of sourcing data, online search, and industry communication services, extending its online directory, producemarketguide.com, to provide additional sales and trading functionality for anyone involved in the flow of fresh produce from originating producer into and through distribution and retail.

“We’re very proud of our history of service to the produce market and excited to be expanding our service footprint even further with this acquisition,” said Shawn Etheridge, Vance Vice President & Publishing Director, Agribusiness. “We see a clear opportunity in fresh produce to bring a key aspect of the marketplace activity online. By better connecting buyers and sellers for the purpose of generating quick, informed transactions – through highly targeted search, direct communication tools, and networked messaging – we can improve sales and sourcing efficiency in the market. Produce Universe is a great brand, and it certainly helps that an established online trading community has taken root there already.”

Created in 2011, Produce Universe was the vision of Brent Erenwert, Vice President of Houston-based Brothers Produce, and developed by social media expert Chris Jones. Erenwert will continue to be involved as a leader and network administrator for Produce Universe under The Packer umbrella.

Erenwert and Jones created a platform for buying, selling, promoting and exchanging produce industry related information.

The goal was to build a web site and social media place where thousands of produce professionals could visit to interact, buy, sell and promote various products in real time.

“In technology terms, the produce industry is still very much lagging behind other industries,” Erenwert said. “However, we feel the industry is changing and people are too busy to pick up the phone and call and email hundreds of people. We feel that if a place like this exists it can help others find answers allowing them to also generate new industry contacts and leads. We think we’ll see this vision succeed by working with The Packer.”

About Vance Publishing Corporation

Vance Publishing Corporation is a leading business-to-business integrated media company serving the agriculture, beauty and professional woodworking industries. The company produces 15 magazines, more than 50 newsletters, over 30 websites, several trade shows and events, a subscription-based data product set, and custom media products. Founded in 1937, Vance Publishing Corporation is headquartered in Lincolnshire, Ill., with additional offices in Lenexa, Kan., and St. Louis.

Source: Vance Publishing Corporation

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