Pittsburgh-based investors F.N.B. Capital Partners, along with a group of local investors, including Jim Rudolph and Len Caric, have acquired the region’s fastest growing meat processing company, Uncle Charley’s Sausage Co. The investors say they plan to increase funding to expand the business while keeping its unique brand value, leadership, Vandergrift, Pa.-based manufacturing facilities and employees intact.
Uncle Charley’s Sausage produces and distributes gourmet sausage and meat products to retail markets throughout six states, including Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Maryland. The 25-year-old regional brand says its key to success, and popularity with consumers, is the freshness and quality of its ingredients: with pork sources in the tri-state area, the company’s product moves from field to store in about 48 hours, contain 32 percent less fat than competitors and is never frozen.
A succession planning process for the company was led by Pittsburgh-based investment banking firm, Ventura Group LLC, which acted as financial advisor to Uncle Charley’s assisting in all aspects of the transaction. Charles Armitage Sr., founder of Uncle Charley’s Sausage, says he selected F.N.B Capital Partners and the other investors for their successful track record of expanding businesses and their dedicated passion for the Uncle Charley’s Sausage brand.
“We feel truly honored that Mr. Armitage has chosen us to be the stewards of his company moving forward,” said investor Rudolph.
Overall, Armitage says he is satisfied with the results of the process.
“I am glad that it (the company) is staying in the hands of local people,” Armitage said. “I have confidence that they will protect the brand’s reputation and help take the company to the next level of growth. They are buying a brand—one that our dedicated management team, employees and family have worked hard to create.”
The acquisition of Uncle Charley’s Sausage by both partners keeps the ownership of the company local with support from investors who are dedicated to the region and the brand.
“While we have plans to substantially grow the business,” explained Stephen Gurgovits Jr., managing partner at F.N.B. Capital Partners, “the priority is to maintain the integrity of the brand and product, while continuing to enhance relationships with our business partners and consumers.”
Uncle Charley’s will operate under the leadership of investor Caric, who will serve as the standing president and CEO, with Rudolph serving as the company’s chairman. Armitage will serve as a consultant for Uncle Charley’s Sausage throughout the next year.
Uncle Charley’s Sausage has experienced growth in both sales and profitability since 2006, nearly doubling the business and its number of employees.