Keystone Capital Management, L.P. (“Keystone”) is pleased to announce it has launched Tribute Baking Company (“Tribute” or the “Company”), a market leading producer of authentic New York style kettle-boiled, hearth-baked bagels and specialty cake products sold into the in-store bakery, club store, foodservice, and convenience store channels. Tribute was formed through the combination of three family-owned wholesale bakeries: Always Bagels (“Always”), Original Bagel (“Original”), and Hometown Foods (“Hometown”).
For the last 25+ years, Always, Original, and Hometown have led the wholesale bagel market in quality. Together, Tribute employs more than 300 people and operates out of a collective 190K square feet across four SQF Level II facilities in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Miami. The Company sells its product in a par-baked and fully baked frozen format to some of the most notable retailers and foodservice distributors on the East Coast, nationally, and internationally. The combined footprint of Tribute provides the advantage to its customers of four dedicated facilities, creating a resilient supply chain in the bagel category.
Anthony Pariti, Co-Founder of Always, noted, “We are thrilled to begin our partnership with Keystone. We see tremendous opportunity to build on the strong foundation developed over the last several decades. Keystone’s differentiated approach of patiently investing alongside management with a focus on long-term value creation is a great fit for our employees and our customers.”
“Partnering with Keystone and Always opens exciting opportunities for our collective businesses,” added Dave Harris and Bruce Levenbrook, President and CEO of Original, respectively. “Our combined decades of experience and legacy of quality are unparalleled in today’s marketplace. Additionally, Keystone’s deep understanding of the wholesale bakery business will provide us with an experienced strategic partner as we work together to achieve our goals for organic growth and complementary acquisitions.”
The formation of Tribute also represents a continuation of Keystone’s partnership with Hometown Foods, a multigenerational wholesale bakery based out of Miami. Hometown’s scaled manufacturing footprint brings substantial additional bagel manufacturing capacity and a portfolio of specialty cake products to the broader platform.
Keystone’s bakery experience stretches back to the early 2000s through Keystone Bakeries Holdings (“KBH”), starting with a partnership with Freed’s Bakery, a market leader in fully finished cupcakes sold to the in-store bakery channel. Over the next decade, Keystone executed two transformative add-on acquisitions in the donut and cookie segment, driving significant growth prior to exiting the business to Weston Foods (TSX: WN) in 2010. Kevin McDonough, formerly the President of KBH, will lead Tribute going forward.
“Keystone is excited to partner with these terrific family businesses to continue building on their legacy of quality and authenticity,” commented Chaoran Jin, Managing Director at Keystone Capital. “We see the same amount of opportunity in the wholesale bakery space that we saw 20 years ago and are eager to execute on our organic growth initiatives and targeted acquisitions.”
Terms of the transaction are not being disclosed. Senior debt financing was provided by CIBC Bank USA and Capital One NA, and legal counsel was provided to Keystone by Honigman LLP. Original Bagel was advised by Billow Butler & Company in connection with this transaction.