Alpine Wins Bankruptcy Court Bid for Fannie May, Fanny Farmer Brands

The $38.9 million bid by Alpine Confections Inc. and North Development Co. for the Fannie May and Fanny Farmer brands, intellectual property and 31 company-owned retail stores was approved last month by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The sale was completed April 19, 2004.
“We’re thrilled with the court’s decision and excited to be able to champion one of the industry’s finest and most revered brands. Today’s decision means that Fannie May officially becomes Alpine’s flagship brand,” read a joint statement issued by Alpine co-founders Dave Taiclet and Taz Murray.
Salt Lake City, Utah-based Alpine also announced plans to open 30 to 40 retail stores beginning in early fall 2004. North Development Co. is Alpine’s real estate partner in that effort.
Alpine also indicated that the Fannie May brand headquarters and its small staff will be located in Chicago.
Since early March, Alpine has been producing and distributing Fannie May’s most popular products, Pixies and Mint Meltaways, under an interim licensing agreement.
Alpine manages confectionery brands such as Harry London, Kencraft, Maxfield’s, Hallmark Chocolatier, and Mrs. Field’s. According to the privately held, 10-year-old company, its sales are approximately $80 million a year exclusive of Fannie May and Fanny Farmer. With the addition of these two brands, the company expects to become one of North America’s top 15 candymakers.
Lincoln Snacks Sold to Willis Stein & Partners
Private investment firm Brynwood Partners has sold Lincoln Snacks Co. to Willis Stein & Partners, a Chicago-based private equity investment firm with approximately $3 billion in assets under management. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Lincoln Snacks manufactures caramelized popcorn and nut-based snacks under the brand names Poppycock, Poppycock Just the Nuts!, Fiddle Faddle and Screaming Yellow Zonkers. Stamford, Conn.-based Brynwood will retain its Flipz candy-coated pretzel and graham business.
Food and beverage industry executive Tim Healy will be Lincoln Snacks’ chairman and chief executive officer. Healy joined with Willis Stein to acquire Lincoln Snacks as a platform on which to build a leading snack food company. Headquarters will be relocated to Chicago.
Just Born Broadens Zours’ Japan Introduction
Just Born Inc.’s recent three-month test introduction of its Zours brand in the Okinawa prefecture of Japan was so successful, the company will expand into the country’s Tohoku and Kyushyu regions this June.
Bethlehem, Pa.-based Just Born worked closely with its Japanese distributor, Marubeni Corp., to develop a strategy for entering the mainstream confectionery market in Japan. Among other things, that involved designing a special Japanese-language version of its 19-gram Zours pouch. Additionally, the Okinawa test market was supported by a four-week television advertising campaign featuring a 15-second Japanese–language commercial created by K&L Inc. of Tokyo. The formulation of the fruit-flavored, sour, chewy candy remains the same.
Television advertising similar to that broadcast in Okinawa will also support Just Born’s foray into the Tohoku and Kyushu markets.
“We hope to continue expanding the regions and be national over the next 12 months,” says Ed Broczkowski, export development manager for Just Born.
NACS Show Registration Opens
Convenience store and petroleum-marketing professionals may register for the industry’s premier event, the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) Show 2004.
The NACS Show, scheduled for Oct. 17 to 20 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, will feature Mary Lou Retton as opening speaker. A debate between Newt Gingrich and James Carville will wrap up the show.
NACS members can register and secure housing online at Early registrants can obtain discounted rates, receive badges and show materials before the convention and ensure that their names are printed in the NACS Show 2004 Program Directory. The site will be continually updated with information on exhibitors, new products, speakers, educational workshops and networking events.
The show will offer 13 tracks of workshop sessions, each chaired by a NACS retail member. Approximately three-dozen individual workshops will focus on the issues, concerns and business-development opportunities that NACS members indicated were of most interest to retailers in a recent member survey, according to Jane Berzan, NACS senior vice president of events, marketing and supplier relations.
Last year’s show in Chicago attracted 1,400 exhibitors and 22,165 attendees, including 6,931 retailers, wholesalers and distributors. It was one of the 50-largest annual trade shows in the United States, according to Tradeshow Week. The 2004 show floor will be segmented into six key areas: Candy and Snacks, Facility Development and Store Operations, Food Equipment and Foodservice, Merchandise, PEI/NACS Petroleum Equipment and Technology.
NACS continues its strategic alliances with both the Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA) and the Petroleum Equipment Institute (PEI) for the show.
People in the News
The Vienna, Va.-based National Confectioners Association recently welcomed Dave Klabunde as its director of trade relations. Klabunde spent 15 years with the Fairfield, Calif.-based Jelly Belly Candy Co., most recently as vice president of sales: national market division. Klabunde’s responsibilities include assisting NCA vice president of trade relations Jim Corcoran with the strategic planning and creation of NCA’s new All Candy Marketplace, a venue for candy buyers and manufacturers to meet and plan seasonal merchandising events. Klabunde will also manage customer and industry educational programs and research projects, buyer relations and planning buyer recruitment for the All Candy Expo.
Maggie Parish joins ERCM, Warrensville Heights, Ohio, as director of communication and training. Parish spent 20 years with Target Stores, most recently as a senior buyer in cosmetics. Terry Green is named ECRM’s vice president of category development, John Allen joins as sales executive and Ann-Laure Border is named manager of customer business development.
Mark McLaughlin has joined Just Born Inc., Bethlehem, Pa., as vice president of human resources and community affairs. He will report to chief operating officer Sam Torrence. McLaughlin has more than 25 years experience in human resources, and most recently was senior vice president of human resources for Volvo Truck North America. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial management from the University of Akron and has served on the board of directors of the Allentown Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse.