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McKee Foods Purchases Prairie City Bakery, Will Retain Employees

McKee Food logo Skeens

Collegedale, Tennessee-based McKee Foods, best known for its Little Debbie brand of snack cakes, has acquired Vernon Hills, Illinois-based Prairie City Bakery.

Mike McKee, president and CEO of McKee Foods, and Bill Skeens, CEO of Prairie City Bakery, made the announcement May 3.Prairie City Bakery logo

Prairie City Bakery was co-founded by Skeens more than 25 years ago. Starting with one product, Muffin Tops, today Prairie City Bakery offers more than 125 varieties of individually-wrapped and bulk food service products, including big cinnamon rolls, danish, Down Home Cookies, classic and premium donuts, Donut Holes in a Cup and Ooey Gooey Butter Cakes. They sell into the convenience, food service and in-store bakery channels.

McKee Foods will continue using the Prairie City Bakery brand name and Prairie City Bakery’s existing distribution channels. Additionally, McKee Foods will retain all Prairie City Bakery employees and existing Vernon Hills offices.

“We sought to acquire Prairie City Bakery because they built a great brand with quality, innovative products that satisfy specific retail customer needs,” McKee said. “We want to continue that success by following the same great strategy with the same great management team. We are excited to continue building on this success. We welcome Prairie City Bakery to the McKee Foods family of brands.”

“I believe Prairie City Bakery is a perfect fit for McKee Foods,” Skeens said. “They share the same values regarding their commitment to quality products, serving their customers and supporting all the good people who support and work for McKee Foods.”

McKee Foods, a family bakery with annual sales of about $1.4 billion, is a privately-held company. The McKee Foods story began during the height of the Great Depression, when founder O.D. McKee began selling 5-cent snack cakes from the back of his car. Soon after, he and his wife, Ruth, bought a small bakery on Main Street in Chattanooga, Tennessee, using the family car as collateral. Today, the company employs more than 6,200 people in Collegedale, Tennessee; Gentry, Arkansas; Stuarts Draft, Virginia; and Kingman, Arizona. It creates and produces Little Debbie baked goods, Drake’s cakes, Sunbelt Bakery snacks and cereals and Fieldstone Bakery food products.

About the author

Treva Bennett

After 32 years in the newspaper industry, she is enjoying her new career exploring the world of groceries at The Shelby Report.

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