Blackford Capital, a national private equity firm headquartered in Grand Rapids, today announced its investment in Fort Wayne, Indiana-based Ellison Bakery Inc., a manufacturer of cookies, snack bars, crunch, and inclusion products, and products for the industrial market, food service industry, and retail and private label space.
Generational Capital Markets served as the exclusive financial advisor to Ellison on the transaction, and debt financing was provided by Comerica Bank in Detroit. The transaction is the ninth by Blackford’s Michigan Prosperity Fund, which invests primarily in Michigan companies and those from neighboring states.
Founded by Donald Ellis in a family garage, Ellison Bakery began in 1945, supplying baked goods to restaurants and grocery stores in the Fort Wayne area. Ellison Bakery became the manufacturer of Archway Cookies in Indiana, Kentucky, and Wisconsin, and currently conducts research and development to accommodate short run products. Ellison currently has more than 100 employees and operates out of a 115,000-square foot facility.
“We’re excited the Ellis family decided to entrust the future of Ellison Bakery with Blackford Capital. Ellison has established itself as a premier industrial bakery and is known for its high quality and extreme flexibility in supporting a wide range of customers,” says Martin Stein, founder and managing director of Blackford Capital.
The transaction also marks the retirement of Rob Ellis, who stepped down as CEO six years ago and had remained with Ellison as CFO. Rob’s sons, Jon and Jeremy Ellis, have grown the business over the past four years will continue to be active in the business post-transaction.
“The Ellis brothers had been looking for a financial partner that would help continue the legacy they had built with their father,” Stein says. “We’re honored to play a part in Ellison’s next chapter and we look forward to investing in the business, the employees, and the community as we continue the story of growth at Ellison.”
Ellison Bakery represents the Fund’s first acquisition outside of Michigan.