Susan Selasky Detroit Free Press
Published 6:31 PM EST Jan 8, 2019
Lipari Foods, a regional food distributor based in Warren, has been acquired by H.I.G. Capital, a Miami-based equity investment firm. According to a news release, H.I.G. is partnering with the Lipari family and the business management to grow distribution and manufacturing. Lipari is well-known for cheese and deli meat products.
“We are very excited about partnering with H.I.G. to support Lipari’s strategic growth plan,” said Thom Lipari, President and CEO of Lipari in a statement. “The company continues to have numerous opportunities to expand and H.I.G.’s experience and resources, particularly around M&A, will help us continue our successful growth trajectory. We remain committed to providing outstanding service to our longstanding, blue-chip customers.”
Within the past year, Lipari has acquired Wisconsin-based Jim’s Cheese and Jerusalem Foods, a Mediterranean food business based in Dearborn. In 2017, it acquired the Dairy Fresh food brand based in Taylor.
Lipari’s strategy is to be a premier “perimeter of the store and specialty grocery” with its products. In the grocery store world, “perimeter” traditionally refers to areas outside the center aisles.
Lipari distributes deli items, dairy, meat and seafood, bakery items, organic food and beverages and food service items. Exclusive brands include the Lipari brand of seasonings, Lipari Old Tyme deli cheeses and meats, the Michigan Brand, Dairy Fresh, Wholey Seafood and Yoder’s.
According to the Lipari website, the company was founded in 1963 by Jim Lipari as way to distribute two products he created: Bazzo’s BBQ sauce and Bella Mia Spaghetti Sauce. As Lipari continued to add more products, his big break came in 1967 when Frank’s Tea & Spice selected Lipari as its distributor.
In the 1970s, son Thom Lipari came on board, a second building was purchased, and the company entered the deli business. In 2006, Lipari Foods built its current 725,000-square-foot food and manufacturing facility for projected growth. Since then, its grown to emply 1,500 associates and distribute more than 25,000 products to 13,000 retail locations in 14 states.
Annually, Lipari has about $1 billion in net sales, while H.I.G. has $30 billion of equity capital under their management.
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Contact Free Press food writer Susan Selasky at 313-222-6872 or [email protected] Follow @SusanMariecooks on Twitter.
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