Success Stories

Each year, hundreds of U.S. suppliers participate in Food Export-Midwest and Food Export-Northeast’s programs.  As a result, companies are successful at generating new export sales, establishing new distributorships, expanding their production facilities, and hiring additional employees.  Read these success stories to learn more.

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Michigan Supplier Gains Exports with Food Show Plus!™ Services

by Food Export | Feb 03, 2017
GF Cooperative Inc. dba Graceland Fruit, Inc. located in Frankfort, Michigan, is one of the world’s largest single-providers of infused dried fruits; such as cranberries, cherries and blueberries. Graceland, in business since 1973, has achieved record sales each of the past four years with a focus on diversifying their business internationally. Participation in Food Export’s Branded Program has assisted the Michigan Supplier to exhibit at international tradeshows and in 2016 they also utilized Food Export’s Food Show PLUS!™ services while attending SIAL Paris.

Graceland Fruit chose to use the Pre-Event Product Research service provided through Food Show PLUS!™ services to evaluate where their product would have the must success in European markets. They also went on a retail tour where they experienced hands-on the retail markets in Paris. At the show they received on-site assistance from the Food Export representative and In-Market Representative.

All these services proved to be useful as Graceland Fruit was able to report post- event, dried fruit sales of $200,000 while making 10 new foreign contacts and 3 new agent relationships. The supplier also projects another $200,000 of export sales over the next twelve months as a result of this participation.

Graceland Fruit Inc. was founded in 1973 and has focused on food manufacturing and the tart cherry industry for over forty years. In 2003 Graceland received the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) prestigious Edward R. Madigan U.S. Agricultural Export Excellence Award for its entrepreneurial efforts in foreign markets after winning the National Agri-Marketing Association's Marketer of the Year Award and Michigan Department of Agriculture's Exporter of the Year Award. Graceland was named Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in 2011.

GF Cooperative Inc. dba Graceland Fruit has participated in Food Export activities and the Market Access Program (MAP) funded Branded Program since 1997.


Food Export uses funding from the Market Access Program (MAP) to help America’s small businesses increase their exports of food and agricultural products. As these exports increase, these small businesses are creating jobs and improving the strength and stability of our agricultural economy. Food Export-Midwest and Food Export-Northeast are non-profit organizations that work in collaboration with their member state departments of agriculture and the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. They offer a wide range of programs and services that help boost America’s agricultural exports.

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