Throughout its 22-year history of investing in the food and beverage industry, Arbor Investments has collaborated with more than 80 companies, including 11 baking businesses ranging from artisan bread and frozen cookie dough to pita bread, pizza and baked sweet goods producers.
“There isn’t a more definitional staple food than baked goods,” said Chris Tuffin, partner with Arbor Investments, based in Chicago. “Bread goes back 15,000 years and is part of every culture. We love the industry. It has great tailwinds and a terrific close-knit community. There’s a lot of room for new products and innovation, but it requires real specialty knowledge to execute it well.”
Its latest venture involves the recapitalization of The Bakery Cos., now rebranded as Crown Bakeries, based in Nashville, Tenn. Mr. Tuffin and Tom Halverson, operating partner at Arbor, work with founder and partner Cordia Harrington, chief executive officer, and Yianny and George Caparos, who previously sold their baking business to the firm.
“What we learned over the years is we need partnerships with great bakers like Cordia and Yianny,” Mr. Tuffin said. “As much of a staple that baking is, it is a real art to do it as well as these guys do it, and having the right team is a tremendous asset to the business.”
During the past 12 years, Yianny Caparos said Arbor’s model has expanded as it added new equity funds.
“Today, Arbor is about investing in a business, establishing a vision and bringing not only the capital, but resources to make it all happen,” he noted. “And then, they align it with other opportunities they see fit to build the business.”
Together, Mr. Tuffin said, Arbor provides its portfolio companies like Crown Bakeries with the support and services that major companies have at their disposal while nimbly reacting to customers’ requests at entrepreneurial speeds.
“We have a best-in-class team at Arbor across a complete suite of functional areas, including marketing, finance, IT, legal, HR, and supply chain to name a few,” Mr. Tuffin said. “These team members spend all day, every day, working to help our portfolio companies, and we tactically deploy them to help with each portfolio company’s specific strategic initiatives.”
For example, Alison Miller, Arbor’s chief marketing officer, collaborated with the Crown Bakeries team on its rebranding initiative. That rebranding is going live in March at www.crownbakeries.com.
This article is an excerpt from the February 2021 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Crown Bakeries, click here.