Buyer found, Awrey auction canceled at last moment
by Josh Sosland
LIVONIA, MICH. — Just ahead of a scheduled auction of the assets of Awrey Bakeries, Livonia, a buyer has emerged for the business.
Numerous news sources in Michigan have said an investor group led by Jim McColgan has acquired Awrey and renamed the business Minnie Marie Bakers, Inc.
Rabin Worldwide, which had been engaged in January to sell the assets of Awrey and had planned a two-day auction Feb. 20 and 21, said substantially all the assets of Awrey were sold by the company’s secured lender under Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code. As a result, the auction has been canceled.
John Awrey, director of sales and marketing and a member of the family that established the business, said many of the company’s employees would be rehired in coming days and weeks.
In November 2012, the company said it would need to let go its 157 workers if a buyer for the business was not found. The business stopped operating in early February, roughly two weeks before the business was sold. Awrey has been owned by private equity groups for a number of years.
“The investors in the new owner of Awrey’s assets are Michigan residents with backgrounds in operating family-run businesses and bakeries,” Mr. Awrey said. “They know Michigan is a good place to do business and will expand our focus to develop a local supply chain of farmers, millers and producers of Michigan grown wheat, soybeans, sugar and other ingredients.”
Mr. Awrey said the company will continue producing Awrey’s line of thaw-and-serve finished baked foods, including Danish, cakes, brownies, biscuits and muffins. Customers are primarily food service distributors, national chains and contract sales. The company operates in a 218,000-square-foot facility in Livonia, and the business will remain headquartered there.
Mr. Awrey said the company will launch a number of new products over the next year, including “a line of gluten-free products produced with Michigan ingredients.”
Additionally, he said the Awrey’s brand will be introduced again at supermarkets.
Shira Weissman, general counsel of Rabin, described a last minute sale before a scheduled auction as highly unusual.
“Really, it never happens that a business is sold the day before a scheduled auction,” she said. “A week before or a month before is considered last minute. We had great interest in this property. We even had some international buyers who were interested. The silver lining is that jobs will remain in Livonia.”