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Eagle Transportation, Redwood Empire Wine Storage sold to employees

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For the first time since 1947, the family of Eagle Distributing Co. founder Chet Galeazzi is out of the beverage services business.

Galeazzi’s daughters and former son-in-law have sold to employees both Eagle Transportation Co., which moves grapes, juice and bottled products for the wine industry, and Redwood Empire Wine Storage. The allied but independent firms are located side-by-side at the south end of Santa Rosa Avenue in Santa Rosa.

Eagle Transportation was founded in 1977 by Galeazzi, the now 93-year-old Santa Rosa native who began distributing soda water in Sonoma County following World War II. He switched to delivering beer, won the right to handle Budweiser and grew Eagle Distributing until he sold it in 1989.

One of Galeazzi’s daughters, Lori Galeazzi-Hafner, became a co-owner of Eagle Transportation in 1979. It originally moved beer but switched to transporting product from all phases of wine making.

Lori Galeazzi-Hafner’s sister, Lynn Galeazzi DeVries, founded the allied Redwood Empire Wine Storage in 1991. For years, Mark Burris, the former husband of DeVries, was president of both firms.

The sisters and Burris now have sold Redwood Empire Wine Storage to 10-year employee Heidi Pabros and Eagle Transportation to Mike Brady, who has been with the firm for 24 years, his wife, Kim Brady, and 23-year employee Jeannette Moneymaker.

“We’re all like family,” said the retiring Lynn DeVries. She said Pabros, Brady and Moneymaker “worked like it’s been their companies.”

Eagle Transportation has 30 employees and Redwood Empire Wine Storage has seven. The new owners said they anticipate no staffing changes to result from the sales.

Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and chris.smith@press democrat.com.

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