Business Briefs

Norwalk, Conn.-based Pepperidge Farm, Inc. opened two new facilities in Willard, Ohio — a 114,000-sq.-ft. warehouse attached to its existing production plant, and a Flexible Packaging Center at the adjacent Willard Industrial Park. Pepperidge Farm Willard is the company’s largest production plant for biscuit products.
Awrey Bakeries Inc., located in Livonia, Mich., signed a $25 million asset purchase agreement with Northbrook, Ill.-based Hilco Equity Management, LLC. Awrey filed for bankruptcy after an inability to collect $200,000 from Oak Park, Mich., retail distributor Koepplinger’s Bakery, Inc., which closed in December 2004.
Jacksonville, Fla.-based Winn-Dixie announced its plans to close or sell 326 stores, three distribution centers and eight manufacturing facilities in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. This move is being made in order to streamline its assets, increase profitability and potentially exit bankruptcy protection. The closures will reduce Winn-Dixie from a $10 billion company to a $7.5 billion retailer with 587 locations in five states and the Bahamas.
At the BEMA Annual Convention in June, American Bakers Association (ABA) president & CEO Paul Abenante urged BEMA members to take advantage of the ABA’s comprehensive government relations resources to meet the challenges that government costs are having on the private sector, including the baking industry. Abenante suggested that BEMA form a Legislative and Regulatory Committee that would meet twice a year with ABA staff lobbyists to receive comprehensive briefings on public policy issues that directly and indirectly impact the baking industry.
BEMA’s headquarters is moving to Kansas City. The new contact information, effective immediately, is as follows: BEMA, The Baking Industry Suppliers Association, 7101 College Boulevard, Suite 1505, Overland Park, KS  66210. The new phone number is 1-913-338-1300, and the new fax is 1-913-338-1327.
Louisville, Ky.-based Blendex Co. received another Greater Louisville Inc.’s Award known as the “Inc.credible Award.” Winners are selected based on their company’s success as well as community involvement, growth in employment, number of years in business, financial performance, innovativeness of product/service and response to adversity. Blendex also was the winner of the 2004 Quality Award for Small Business in the Greater Louisville Manufacturing Awards of Excellence.
Cereal Ingredients, Inc., has completed construction of a new manufacturing plant in Leavenworth, Kan. This is the company’s second plant, which triples its productive capacity.
Thomasville, Ga.-based Flowers Foods plans to enter a contract to acquire Royal Cake Co., Inc., a Winston-Salem-based bakery currently operating in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Royal Cake has sales of $24 million in 2004, currently employs 190 people and produces cookies, cereal bars and crème-filled cakes sold under the Royal, Bakers Best and private-label brands.
St. Louis-based private-label food producer Ralcorp Holdings Inc. will start production this fall after buying two former bakery buildings in South Beloit, Ill. The plants had been part of Bake-Line, the now-defunct private-label producer.
Harte Foods, a dessert manufacturing company located in Sacramento, Calif. that produces ingredients, foodservice bakery and confectionery products, recently acquired Bako Products, a provider of specialty bakery desserts. The operating company for both Harte Foods and Bako Products going forward will be Bako Products DBA Chalet Specialty Foods.
Santa Fe, N.M.-based LesserEvil Snack Co. announced that its products are now carried by United Natural Foods Inc., a certified organic distributor, throughout the West and Midwest.
Traditional Baking, Inc., producer of wire-cut, deposit and rotary cookies, completed an 18,000-sq.-ft. expansion of its facility in Bloomington, Calif. Daily 24-hour production capacity has increased to 90,000 lbs. or 3.3 million cookies. With the expansion, the 60,000-sq.-ft. facility operates with state-of-the-art baking technology along with a new retail cookie outlet.
Loders Croklaan, a leading producer of oils and fats, announced that its North American plant earned a “superior” rating in a recent food safety audit by the American Institute of Baking.
Boston Gear, a division of Altra Industrial Motion, received an award for its innovative website: The site was named “Web Site of the Month” by, an online industrial portal and international network of leading manufacturers and suppliers of industrial products.