Regions Shenandoah Valley

Joint venture to expand apple operations

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Print this page by James Heffernan

Bowman Apple Products in Mount Jackson has teamed up with a leading European fruit processor in a move that will bring an expansion of Bowman’s operations and the addition of at least 30 jobs in the Shenandoah Valley.

The agreement with Andros et Cie, based in southwest France, will allow the two companies to combine their resources, working toward greater market share and improved product offerings, according to a statement. The joint venture is known as Bowman Andros Products LLC.

“For years we have been looking for a strong, strategic partner to expand our business and ensure the future of our company,” Bowman’s chairman, Gordon D. “Sonny” Bowman II, says. “We are extremely pleased with the future this joint venture offers for the long-term benefit of our employees and our community.”

Andros et Cie is a private, family-run company that owns and operates more than 25 factories worldwide, including in China. Its four main product categories are processed fruits, dairy products, frozen desserts and confectionery. The company’s most famous brand is Bonne Maman jams and preserves.

Jean-Luc Heymans, director of Andros’ fruit division, says the company had been looking “to merge with a great apple business in North America as we expand our marketing presence in the United States,” adding that Bowman’s experience and employees were key factors in its decision.

Bowman President Timothy Proctor says the company expected to launch a new apple-based product in mid- to late-June as a result of the venture.

The company also will increase production capacity at its Mount Jackson facility and will be hiring additional workers. Initially, the plant will add about 30 employees, with plans to add more lines and workers within the next year, Proctor says.

Bowman makes applesauce, apple juice and apple butter for the private-label retail market and co-packs a variety of beverage products, including juices, teas, vitamin waters and sports drinks. “We’re keeping our existing customers and product lines,” Proctor says. “We’ll just be adding to it.”

The Bowman family, which started the company in 1939, transferred ownership to its workers last fall through an employee stock ownership plan.

Proctor calls the joint venture with Andros a “good fit for both of us and a classic win-win.”

“We look forward to a long and profitable presence in the U.S. and in Mount Jackson, in particular,” Heymans says. 

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