Banking & Finance, Food Service & Agriculture, and Manufacturing

Private equity firm invests in industrial bakery

April 24, 2017
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Ellison Bakery
Ellison Bakery started in 1945 as "a one-man operation" in a family garage. Photo via

A local private equity firm has invested in an Indiana industrial bakery — marking the first out-of-state investment by its Michigan Prosperity Fund.

Blackford Capital, a national firm based in Grand Rapids, said today it invested in Ellison Bakery of Fort Wayne.

Ellison Bakery is a maker of cookie, snack bar, crunch, inclusion product and other products for the industrial market, food service industry and retail and private label spaces.

The company has more than 100 employees and operates a 115,000-square-foot facility.

Generational Capital Markets served as the exclusive financial advisor to Ellison Bakery on the transaction.

Debt financing was provided by Comerica Bank.

The transaction is the ninth by Blackford's Michigan Prosperity Fund, created in 2012, which primarily invests in Michigan companies.

The transaction marks the retirement of Rob Ellis, who stepped down as Ellison Bakery CEO six years ago and had remained with the company as CFO.

His sons, Jon Ellis and Jeremy Ellis, have grown the business over the past four years and will continue to be active in the business post-transaction.

Martin Stein, founder and managing director of Blackford Capital, said the Ellis brothers were looking for a financial partner that would help continue the “legacy they had built with their father.”

"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,” Stein said.

Todd Wallin, president of Ellison Bakery, said the company has experienced “steady growth" over the last several years.

“The Ellis family selected Blackford Capital as partner because of its shared values, aggressive growth strategy and commitment to developing the existing team at Ellison,” Wallin said.

The company is preparing to invest in new production and packaging capabilities, as well as additional research and development resources.  

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