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Published: Wednesday, 7/11/2007

Hickory Farms, Maumee sausage-and-cheese gift-basket maker, gets new owner

BY GARY T. PAKULSKI
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

Metro Toledo s Hickory Farms Inc., a nationwide retailer of summer sausage, cheeses, and other food items, has a new owner.

Private equity firm Sun Capital Partners Inc., of Boca Raton, Fla., has acquired the company for an undisclosed price, officials announced yesterday.

Sheri Caldwell, a Hickory Farms spokesman, said the new owners plan no changes at headquarters in suburban Maumee, where 150 people work in administration, payroll, information technology, and customer service. There are 200 employees nationwide.

The workforce rises by several thousand nationally at Christmas, when Hickory Farms does the bulk of its business over the Internet, through catalogs, and at seasonal kiosks in 600 malls and other sites.

The firm had been owned by private investors led by Jupiter Partners LLC, of New York, since January, 1998, according to that organization s Web site.

Hickory Farms announcement yesterday did not mention Anwar Alimumal and Robert Dyer, who were apparently part of the ownership group and were its public faces for many years.

Hickory Farms traces its origins to 1950, when Toledo businessman Richard K. Ransom sold cheese at a local home show. Nine years later, he opened the first of many stores, all of which have been closed. For many years, the company had many franchisees and publicly traded stock.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com



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