Arbor buys Best Maid Cookie Co.

by Eric Schroeder
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CHICAGO — Arbor Investments has acquired Best Maid Cookie Company, Inc., a River Falls, Wis.-based manufacturer and marketer of branded and private label gourmet cookies and dessert bars in both fully baked and frozen dough formats. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Best Maid was founded in 1943 by Swedish immigrant baker C. Arthur Erickson. The company’s products are sold into the food service, convenience store and fundraising channels across the United States.

The company will join Arbor’s Le Petit Pain baking platform, which includes New French Bakery, Inc., a Minneapolis-based commercial bakery that manufactures branded and private label take-and-bake and fresh artisan bread. The Le Petit Pain platform is overseen by Mike Schultz, operating partner at Arbor, a 20-year executive in the baking industry, including as a former executive at CSM Bakery Products and Minneapolis-based Best Brands Corp.

Deb Dartsch, chief executive officer of Best Maid and Mr. Erickson’s daughter, and Ron Thielen, president, will continue in their respective roles at the company following the acquisition. The company will continue to operate out of its existing 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility.

“Best Maid enjoys a distinguished reputation in the sweet goods industry for product quality, innovation and customer service,” said Brody Lynn, vice-president at Arbor Investments. “The company’s management and employees have built a remarkable business and culture, and the complimentary product offerings at New French Bakery will enable both companies to provide greater service to their customers.”

Mr. Shultz said Best Maid makes an “excellent fit” with Arbor’s current platform of premium artisan bread.

“We are elated to be partnering with Arbor,” Ms. Dartsch said. “Their extensive and unparalleled experience in the food industry, and in particular the baking segment, made them a perfect fit for Best Maid, our management team, employees and customers. Over the past 70 years, the company has experienced tremendous growth adhering to our core principles, and we look forward to Arbor continuing that legacy and leading us in our next phase of growth.”
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