Michigan-based Lipari Foods has acquired its longtime competitor I&K Distributors of Delphos, Ohio.
It is the first step toward Lipari’s goals to grow as a regional distributor and ultimately to become a national distributor with other locations, Thom Lipari, president and CEO, told The Shelby Report’s Geoff Welch at the company’s spring show on April 18.
“We’re pretty excited,” Lipari said. “It brings us into a whole other category in the supermarket with their dairy case program, and we’re looking for big things to come with the merger.”
Lipari told The Shelby Report that the I & K acquisition will be something of a “training ground, and once we get that under our belt, we’re going to be looking for other areas in the country where we can duplicate what we’re doing here in the Midwest.”
The acquisition continues Lipari’s strategic plan to be the leading “perimeter of the store” distributor. I & K’s strong dairy case portfolio complements Lipari’s current category offerings, further strengthening its ability to service both Lipari and I & K customers.
“We see this as a win-win for us and the customer,” Lipari said. “I&K is a perfect fit since its go-to-market strategy and basic philosophy on servicing the customer are very similar to what we believe at Lipari Foods. We’re excited about the new opportunities this acquisition brings our company as well as our combined customer base.”
Lipari Foods was founded in 1963 by Jim Lipari, who began by delivering unique products from the back of his Buick station wagon. Today Lipari Foods distributes a wide range of bakery, dairy, deli, packaging, seafood, grocery, and confectionary products to nearly 5,000 customers. The company’s central distribution center is in Warren, Mich., and its truck fleet delivers to 11 states six days a week.
I&K Distributors was founded in 1966 with the purchase of Yoder salad business, specializing in manufacturing and distributing salads to 75 customers on a single company truck. In 2012 I & K distributed 3,600 SKUs to more than 4,000 customers throughout six Midwest states.