GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., April 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Blackford Capital, a national private equity firm headquartered in Grand Rapids, Mich., today announced its investment in Fort Wayne, Indiana-based Ellison Bakery, Inc. (Ellison), a leading manufacturer of cookie, snack bar, crunch and inclusion product, and other products for the industrial market, food service industry, and retail and private label space. Generational Capital Markets served as the exclusive financial advisor to Ellison on the transaction. Debt financing was provided by Comerica Bank. The transaction is the ninth by Blackford's Michigan Prosperity Fund, which invests primarily in Michigan companies, as well as neighboring states.
Founded by Donald Ellis in a family garage, Ellison Bakery began in 1945 supplying baked goods to restaurants and grocery stores in the Ft. Wayne area. Ellison Bakery grew quickly and gained a reputation for quality and exceeding customer expectations. As a result, Ellison became the exclusive manufacturer for Archway Cookies in Indiana, Kentucky and Wisconsin. Since that time, Ellison has grown rapidly and established itself as the independent bakery of choice for blue chip customers. Currently, Ellison differentiates itself through its extensive research and development capabilities and ability to accommodate short run products. Ellison has over 100 employees and operates out of a 115,000 sq. ft. facility.
"We're excited the Ellis family decided to entrust the future of Ellison Bakery with Blackford Capital. Ellison has established itself as a premier industrial bakery and is known for its high quality and extreme flexibility in supporting a wide range of customers," said Martin Stein, founder and managing director of Blackford Capital. The transaction also marks the retirement of Rob Ellis, who stepped down as CEO 6 years ago and had remained with Ellison as the CFO. Rob's sons, Jon and Jeremy Ellis, have grown the business tremendously over the past four years will continue to be active in the business post-transaction. "The Ellis brothers had been looking for a financial partner that would help continue the legacy they had built with their father," Stein continued. "We're honored to play a part in Ellison's next chapter and we look forward to investing in the business, the employees, and the community as we continue the story of growth at Ellison."
"We're excited to benefit from the strategic experience and capital that Blackford brings and look forward to working with the entire team to execute our aggressive plans for growth," said Todd Wallin, President of Ellison Bakery. "We've experienced steady growth the last several years under the ownership of the Ellis Family. The Ellis family selected Blackford Capital as partner because of its shared values, aggressive growth strategy, and commitment to developing the existing team at Ellison. Over the last 70 years, Ellison Bakery has garnered a reputation for quality, service, and a commitment to helping customers improve their product. Together with Blackford, Ellison has strategically positioned itself for continued growth by preparing to invest in new production and packaging capabilities, as well as additional R&D resources.
The Michigan Prosperity Fund, created in 2012, invests primarily in Michigan companies to generate best-in-class equity returns and support the Michigan economy. Ellison Bakery, Inc. represents the Fund's first acquisition outside of Michigan. Other portfolio companies in the Michigan Prosperity Fund include: Custom Profile (Grand Rapids, MI), Mopec (Oak Park, MI), Grand Transformers, Inc. (Grand Haven, MI), Burgaflex, NA (Fenton, MI), Dickinson Press Inc. (Grand Rapids, MI), Grand Equipment Company (Hudsonville, MI), Quality Aluminum Products (Hastings, MI), and Davalor Mold Company (Chesterfield, MI).
About Blackford Capital
Home of the 2016 M&A Advisor Private Equity Professional of the Year, Martin Stein, Blackford Capital is a private equity firm based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that acquires, manages and builds family-owned, lower middle-market manufacturing, distribution and service companies. Blackford currently has 13 portfolio companies located across the United States and has been recognized as one of America's fastest growing private companies by Inc. 5000. In 2015, Blackford was recognized by The M&A Advisor with the Deal of the Year Award. For more information, visit www.blackfordcapital.com.
About Ellison Bakery
Founded in 1945, Ellison Bakery is a leading industrial bakery located in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Ellison produces cookie, snack bar, crunch and inclusion, and other products for the industrial market, food service industry, and retail and private label space. Ellison maintains several baking lines with a diverse set of capabilities that allow it to deliver exceptional quality and customer service. To learn more about the company, visit www.ebakery.com.
About Comerica Bank
Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Comerica Bank was founded in 1849. Comerica Bank offers a full suite of services through its Business Bank, Retail Bank and Wealth Management business segments. Comerica Bank prides itself on understanding the needs of its community and customers. For more information, visit www.comerica.com.
About Generational Capital Markets
Generational Capital Markets, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Generational Capital, LLC, is a Dallas, Texas based merger & acquisition advisory firm specializing in exit planning, strategic acquisitions, divestiture strategies, management buyouts, valuation opinions, and private placements. Generational focuses on marketing and selling middle market companies to national and international strategic buyers and private equity groups. For additional information, visit www.gencm.com.
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SOURCE Blackford Capital