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Specialty Distributors & Brokers

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Rare Edibles Partners with Regalis Foods

Regalis Foods, a New York City-based luxury food distributor to chefs and restaurant groups, is aquiring a stake in Rare Edibles, a specialty food purveyor in Dallas, Texas.  As part of the merger, Rare Edibles will change its name to Regalis Texas in first quarter of 2017.

“We look forward to bringing our diverse, extensive relationships with some of the country’s most respected foragers, farmers, fishermen and producers to Rare Edibles’ already robust offerings,” says Regalis Foods Founder Ian Purkayastha. “With expanded ties to regional and international high-end food producers, Regalis Texas will now offer a broader portfolio to the state’s growing high-profile culinary industry.”

The idea for Rare Edibles occurred to its creator, Chef Bryan Dunn, in 2011 while working under Donald Link, chef/owner Herbsaint and Cochon in New Orleans.  Rare Edibles quickly established itself as the authority and source for heritage meats, artisan cheeses and seasonal foraged items to top Dallas chefs and restaurants, helping to elevate the dining scene to one of the most exciting in the country.

“Our focus has always been on the rare, unique and delicious.  Now, through Regalis’ access to exceptional suppliers in the Northeast and Europe, we can deliver a richer, deeper inventory of luxury products to cities throughout Texas,” explains Dunn.

Purkayastha began his career by selling truffles at age 16 and founded Regalis Foods in 2012.  After partnering with David Yourd and Karrie Kimble, Purkayastha expanded his offerings to include Regalis-branded caviar, wild foraged mushrooms and greens, live seafood and direct European imports.  The company boasts a devoted clientele of world-renowned chefs such as David Chang, Sean Brock and Eric Ripert.

Complementing Purkayastha’s expertise in luxury ingredients, Regalis Partners Yourd and Kimble bring 20 years of industry experience in building multiple specialty food distribution and import companies.  Their business acumen and depth of connections will fuel Regalis Texas’ growth.

KeHE Marks Year of Growth & Expansion in 2016

KeHE Distributors, LLC (KeHE) celebrates a year of growth and achievements in 2016. In addition to a rewarding first year as a Certified B Corp, the company advanced on its strategic growth plan with the acquisition of Monterrey Provision Company, the addition of a new distribution center in Colorado, and through various leadership initiatives.

“Our achievements in 2016 are a testament to our motto: Where KeHE Goes, Goodness Follows™,” said Brandon Barnholt, President and CEO, KeHE. “This has been a memorable year for KeHE, and we look forward to building on this momentum in the exciting year ahead.”

Certified B Corp Status
KeHE formally announced its B Corp certification at Natural Products Expo West 2016. Barnholt led a signing of The B Corp Declaration of Interdependence with representatives of the B Corp community. In October, the nonprofit B Lab named KeHE a B Corp “2016 Rookie of the Year” for its outstanding commitment to the movement: using business as a force for good.

Acquisition
In February, KeHE acquired Monterrey Provision Company, a San Diego-based distributor of fresh perimeter products. The Monterrey acquisition aligned two companies with complementary assets and skills, advancing on KeHE’s vision to expand its footprint in this cool growth category.

Expansion
KeHE broadened its reach with the arrival of its 17th distribution center. Located in Aurora, Colorado, near Denver, this state-of-the-art 270,000-square-foot facility was built from the ground up to meet LEED Gold certification for energy-efficient practices. KeHE celebrated the opening of the site in August with a philanthropic activity that provided 1,000 boxes of food to area families in need.

Show Growth
KeHE experienced double-digit growth across its award-winning trade shows. The Natural Spring Show saw a 27 percent increase in attendance from 2015, and the Natural Fall Show saw 35 percent attendance growth since 2014. KeHE looks forward to welcoming suppliers and retailers to the Summer Selling Show in New Orleans on February 7-8, 2017.

New CFO
KeHE also expanded its leadership team with the appointment of Timothy J. Wiggins as Chief Financial Officer in July. In his role, Wiggins leads all aspects of KeHE’s finance function and strategic planning, as well as business unit and subsidiary performance.

Largest Winter Fancy Food Show Ever Opens Registration

The Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco is shaping up to be the largest in its 42-year history, with more of the latest specialty foods and beverages to discover than ever before. The show takes place January 22-24, 2017 at Moscone Center.

218,000 square feet – almost four football fields – of exhibit halls will overflow with thousands of new products from across the country – California to Texas to Maine – as well as from 30 countries. California will boast the biggest show presence with over 330 companies represented.

Registration is now open at fancyfoodshows.com.

As the largest marketplace devoted exclusively to specialty foods and beverages on the West Coast, the show is the place to be for buyers from top names in retailing and restaurants. Attendees spot trends, find new foods, and make new connections.

“Specialty food sales are exploding right now,” says Phil Kafarakis, President of the Specialty Food Association, which owns and produces the Winter Fancy Food Show. “We’re seeing millennials and men emerging as key consumer groups, foodservice sales are experiencing impressive increases, while online shopping and retail serve as key consumer sales channels. People are very interested in high quality, great tasting food and specialty foods offer both.”

Show highlights include a full range of educational programming focused on smart growth and innovation targeted to all levels of the specialty food industry from newcomers to established manufacturers.

Other show highlights include:

  • Specialty Food Association’s fifth annual Leadership Awards Ceremony
    Sunday, January 22, 2017, 5:00 – 6:30 p.m.
  • What’s New, What’s Hot showcase with hundreds of on-trend products
  • “New Brands on the Shelf” area featuring up-and-coming producers who are Specialty Food Association Member Candidates.
  • Incubator Alley where new specialty food stars will display their products at the earliest stage.
  • Major food donation at show’s end to Feed the Hungry.

Unified Grocers CFO Mike Henn to Retire; Christine Neal Named New CFO

Unified Grocers, Inc.’s Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer Michael F. Henn will retire effective September 30. Effective October 1, Christine Neal will be promoted to the position of Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer.

 

Mike Henn joined Unified last October following the retirement of Richard J. Martin. “It’s been a privilege to work with a great management team that has accomplished so much in the past year to position the company for solid growth going forward,” he said. “While personal circumstances have driven my decision to step back from a full time role, I will continue to assist the company in a more limited capacity as it transitions to new financial leadership.”

“Unified was extremely fortunate to have Mike on the team to guide us through a period of transition and to set the financial foundations for the next phase of the company’s growth,” said Unified President and CEO Bob Ling. “I’m grateful that he will continue to support the company going forward. Mike has played an important role, and all of us at Unified wish him well.”

Christine Neal has agreed to defer her own planned retirement to accept the CFO role while the company commences a search process for the CFO position, providing a seamless transition for the financial management function of the company.

“Christine is a very talented executive with a strong track record of leadership in finance and strategy, and excellent knowledge of our company,” said Ling. “In addition to her proven financial management skills, she has been a key driver of the company’s new strategic plan, which we expect to finalize soon.”

“It’s an honor to take on the role of Chief Financial Officer at this important time in Unified’s history,” said Neal. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to play a larger role as we look to grow the business and enhance the success of our members.”

As CFO and Treasurer, Neal will be responsible for finance, accounting, information systems, internal audit (administrative responsibility) and strategic planning. She is also President of Unified’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Grocers Capital Company (GCC).

Neal joined Unified in 2003, and in her previous roles she was responsible for finance, treasury, strategic planning and human resources. Prior to the joining the company, Neal acquired a wide range of financial experience within the food industry, including serving for several years as a financial consultant to Unified. She also served as chief financial officer for the California Restaurant Association, the largest state restaurant and hospitality trade organization in the United States, and was controller for Gelson’s Markets, a premier upscale grocery retail chain in Southern California. Neal began her career at the Cincinnati office of Arthur Young & Company, where she worked for eight years as an accountant and audit manager.

Neal currently serves on the board of directors of the National Cooperative Bank. She has previously served on the board of directors of the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) and the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the American Red Cross. She earned her bachelor of science degree in accountancy and finance from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and is a certified public accountant.

C.A. Fortune Expands Coverage to West Coast

C.A. Fortune has agreed to acquire CSW Food Brokerage, based in Livermore, California. C.A. Fortune is a natural, specialty and bakery/deli sales and marketing agency currently covering the eastern and central market areas. CSW is a regional Natural, Specialty and Bakery/Deli sales and marketing agency covering the northern California market, which also includes Nevada, Hawaii and parts of Oregon. The acquisition of CSW will mark the first step in the expansion of C.A. Fortune’s coverage to the western United States.

Bob and Christine Wingfield, longtime owners of CSW, will lead the northern California operations for C.A. Fortune. “We are genuinely excited and look forward to working with C.A. Fortune,” Bob Wingfield said. Throughout their years in the business, the Wingfields have excelled at attracting key people with deep industry knowledge to their team. This depth of talent will enable C.A. Fortune to hit the ground running.

“When we launched our initial business plan in June 2013, the vision and goal was to build the premier, privately-held national sales and marketing agency focused on the Natural, Specialty and Bakery/Deli trade channels,” said Tyler Lowell, Managing Partner of C.A. Fortune. “With the addition of the CSW Brokerage business and the professional team that Bob and Christine have developed, we are proud to extend the C.A. Fortune brand into the western U.S.”

KeHE to Open Distribution Center in Colorado

KeHE is opening its newest distribution center in Aurora, Colorado, a Denver suburb, on August 31. The 270,000 square-foot LEED Gold-certified facility employs energy-efficient practices, including its HVAC system, lighting and 80,000-square-foot freezer and cooler space.

Following the ribbon-cutting and tours of the facility, guests will have an opportunity to participate in a “pick & pack” activity to help local families in need. One thousand boxes of food, including soup packets provided by Women’s Bean Project, will be distributed to Children’s Hunger Fund agencies and Food Bank of the Rockies.

 

Unified Grocers to Host Expo August 17-18

Unified Grocers is hosting its annual Expo for the company’s members, customers and vendor community at the Long Beach Convention Center on August 17 – 18, 2016. The show will include more than 900 booths representing industry suppliers and Unified product and services departments. It will also feature several educational sessions for attendees covering topics such as, Scan Data for Sales Planning, Mobile Ordering, Ecommerce and Social Marketing.

Among Expo’s many other highlights will be Unified’s “Signature” brands — products that the company owns or has exclusive rights to distribute. Everything you could find in a grocery store — and more — will be on display and available to try at Expo. Unified has made it easier for its independent retailers and participating vendors to do business at Expo with a mobile app for navigating the show and taking full advantage of its many buying and selling opportunities.

KeHE Appoints Chief Financial Officer

KeHE Distributors, LLC (KeHE) has named Timothy J. Wiggins as its new Chief Financial Officer, effective July 11.

In his new role, Wiggins will be responsible for leading all aspects of KeHE’s finance function and strategic planning, as well as business unit and subsidiary performance. He will also serve as a member of the board of directors of World Finer Foods, a KeHE subsidiary, and as a member of the advisory board to Tree of Life Canada.

“After an extensive nationwide search, we are pleased to welcome Tim Wiggins to the team,” said Brandon Barnholt, President and CEO, KeHE. “Tim brings a depth of financial experience in the public and private sectors that will be valuable as we continue to drive shareholder value. Just as important, Tim is an excellent cultural fit due to his commitment to the development of people and a desire to help us live out our mission and values.”

“I am delighted to be joining such an outstanding organization,” added Wiggins. “KeHE’s mission, vision and values resonate deeply with me, and I look forward to contributing to this important work.”

Prior to joining KeHE, Wiggins served as senior vice president and chief financial officer at DeVry Education Group. He is a CPA and holds a Bachelor of Arts in accounting from Michigan State University.

For more information, visit www.KeHE.com.

KeHE Announces B Corp Certification with Signing Ceremony

KeHE Distributors, LLC (KeHE) announced its status as a Certified B Corporation (B Corp) at Natural Products Expo West 2016, the world’s largest natural and organic products tradeshow with nearly 100 B Corps exhibiting and 70,000 people in attendance.

The announcement is a culmination of a year-long rigorous assessment of KeHE’s community, environmental, governance and employee practices conducted by the nonprofit B Lab.

“KeHE is in business for more than just profits. As a Certified B Corporation, KeHE proudly joins a community of companies committed to using business and economic success to be a force for good,” said Brandon Barnholt, President and CEO, KeHE Distributors. “Our business culture emphasizes personal integrity—fostering an environment where employees feel valued and encouraged to achieve their best selves. The B Corp certification further validates KeHE’s core purpose: We SERVE to make lives better™.”

To announce KeHE’s B Corp certification, Barnholt led a toast with Chief B Keeper Ben Anderson and representatives from the B Corp community, including Cabot, Dr. Bronner’s, Ethical Bean Coffee, King Arthur Flour and Mamma Chia. After the toast, KeHE executives and guests were “first signers” of a giant B Corp Declaration of Interdependence (more than 21 feet wide) at KeHE’s booth. A “B Happy” Hour followed the toast and signing ceremony as the show opened to all conference attendees.

“B Lab is honored to have KeHE join the more than 1,600 corporations that we have certified as B Corps,” Anderson said. “KeHE is exemplifying the collective spirit of the Certified B Corps, and we’re thrilled to see this collaboration heighten KeHE’s announcement and show the power of the community.”

In fact, KeHE scored high marks for its community initiatives and employee stewardship in the B Impact Assessment. Through its KeHE Cares program, the company donates 10 percent of its profits to charity and encourages participation in charitable activities in the U.S. and international communities. KeHE’s benefits package also includes paid time off for employees to volunteer. An employee stock option plan (ESOP) provides KeHE employees with company stock ownership.

Natural Products Expo West took place at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif. from March 11-13, 2016. Visit KeHE’s B Corp profile to learn more: https://www.bcorporation.net/community/kehe.

KeHE Acquires Monterrey Provision Company

 

KeHE announced that it has acquired Monterrey Provision Company – a San Diego, California-based, distributor of products for the perimeter departments at retail grocery stores. Monterrey is a 40-year-old family-owned company and a trusted partner to leading retailers across the country.

“We view the perimeter as an essential element of our growth strategy. The acquisition of Monterrey expands our perimeter capabilities, and further enables our growth plans. This is similar to the advantages we gained in the organic business with the acquisition of Nature’s Best inAugust 2014,” said Brandon Barnholt, KeHE President and CEO.

Mike Leone, Chief Commercial Officer at KeHE, said, “With the addition of Monterrey, we are better positioned to capitalize on opportunities in the perimeter and partner with customers across their total store.”

The combination of KeHE and Monterrey joins two successful organizations with complementary assets and skills. The acquisition helps advance KeHE’s strategic plan and aligns with KeHE’s vision to be the trusted distributor for natural, organic and specialty products.

“Joining the KeHE family leapfrogs Monterrey by years in our ability to extend our excellence in fresh perimeter distribution to the entire country. Further, KeHE and Monterrey couldn’t be better cultural fits for each other,” said Luke Abbott, Monterrey President. The acquisition will add two distribution centers in San Diego, California, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to KeHE’s existing network of 16 distribution centers in the U.S. and Canada. Currently, KeHE does not have facilities in those cities.

 

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