Ben E. Keith acquires Alabama food service company


Campbell Soup is among the products Ben E. Keith distributes.

via Korri Kezar, Dallas Business Journal

Fort Worth foodservice distributor Ben E. Keith Foods will add new customers and operations with the purchase of Alabama company Kelley Foods.

With the transaction, expected to close on Sept. 30, North Texas’ 11th-largest private company by revenue will acquire all of Kelley’s assets, including its Elba, Alabama-based distribution center and its manufacturing division, which produces sausages, hams and other custom products. Further terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The distribution division will be renamed Ben E. Keith Foods – Southeast Division in the coming months, while the manufacturing operations will retain the Kelley Foods name as a division of Ben E. Keith Foods.

In addition to Kelley’s assets, purchasing the Alabama company will bring Ben E. Keith new customers across Kelley’s distribution area in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi. Currently, Ben E. Keith ships to 12 states and has distribution centers and sales offices in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Arkansas and Louisiana.

“Part of our strategic plan is to look for expansion opportunities outside of our general market area,” David Werner, Ben E. Keith’s vice president of marketing, told the Dallas Business Journal. “We’re in expansion mode, and the time seems to be right for us internally and externally (to keep growing).”

Ben E. Keith, which employs roughly 3,200 employees, will retain all 176 of Kelley’s workers, including members of its senior management team. Kelley’s president and CEO Eddie Kelley and Jerry Kelley, vice president of distribution, will advise Ben E. Keith as it integrates Kelley Food’s assets. Their roles after the transition have not been determined.

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