EXIM-Insured Exports Spur Michigan Dried Fruit Manufacturer's Steady Growth, Saving U.S. Jobs

July 16, 2019

(Ex-Im Bank) Washington, D.C. – Michigan-based dried fruit company, Graceland Fruit Inc., was able to save the jobs of workers in the Midwest and grow into international markets with the help of export credit insurance from the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM).

All week long, as part of the White House’s Made in America Week, EXIM is spotlighting companies such as Graceland Fruit, whose exporting success reflects how American businesses contribute to U.S. economic prosperity and sustain jobs in the United States through sales of their goods and services across the globe.

Graceland Fruit is headquartered in Frankfort, Michigan, and employs more than 250 workers. This small business has expanded substantially since it was founded in 1973 in the heart of northern Michigan’s famed cherry-growing region. A pioneer and innovator in food manufacturing, Graceland Fruit took a forward-leaning approach to developing international markets and began exporting its products in 1995. The company’s exports—shipped to 65 countries—now account for about 60 percent of revenue.

Since 2011, Graceland Fruit has relied on EXIM’s short-term export credit insurance, which allowed the company to remain competitive by offering extended payment terms to its foreign customers. EXIM’s support provided a consistent solution to Graceland that supported the company’s ability to continuously increase its exporting capability.

“EXIM is a vital part of our business,” said Al DeVore, Graceland Fruit CEO. “It helps to open a critical path to international business that a smaller company like ours might not otherwise be able to access. In short, the majority of our revenue would not be possible without the export credit insurance provided by EXIM.”

For Graceland Fruit, the results have been impressive. From 2014 to 2018, the company shipped more than $159 million in exports backed by EXIM. During that period, exports have steadily and substantially increased—rising from $24 million in 2014 to $42 million in 2018. And the company is on track to top that record in 2019, with more than $30 million in exports so far this year.

Graceland Fruit has been honored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for exporter excellence and has been named twice as the Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year.

With facilities in Frankfort, Michigan, and Warrens, Wisconsin, Graceland’s exporting capabilities have created additional jobs for the company. In 2018, Graceland assumed operation of the Wisconsin processing facility that exports most of its product, saving more than 60 jobs that otherwise could have been lost.

Graceland Fruit primarily produces dried cranberries, cherries, blueberries, and apples, which it markets to some of the largest food manufacturers in the world. The company’s dried fruits are used in breads, muffin mixes, bagels, trail mixes, ice cream, frozen dough, and many other consumer goods. The company also sells directly to consumers in retail outlets and online in the United States and China.

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