In early 2011, when Rich Products Corporation welcomed Celebration Foods LLC into the fold, there indeed was good reason to celebrate this new addition to the Rich’s family.
The acquisition of Celebration Foods brought the leading maker of ice cream cake desserts under the same umbrella with Rich’s, which invented the world’s first non-dairy whipped topping. Sounds heavenly.
It’s no wonder the proud folks at the New Britain, Conn., facility have been known as the “Celebration Nation.” They are the production force behind Carvel®, one of the best-selling brands of ice cream cake in America. This new group of Rich’s associates manufactures, markets and distributes a full line of ice cream cake desserts. And, they do it with passion.
Not coincidentally, “there’s always a reason to celebrate” is the motto at this facility. The sense of camaraderie and pride among associates mirrors the culture of family values that has been a hallmark of Rich’s since day one.
While adding another chapter to the pioneering heritage of the Rich’s organization, the acquisition of Celebration Foods provides Rich’s the opportunity to further shape its portfolio and enhance the overall frozen dessert offerings provided to customers.
Celebration Foods has been well-respected in business circles for numerous reasons, among them: category leadership, through product innovation and customer satisfaction; a strong focus on ice cream cake dessert solutions; regional distribution leadership opportunities through its Direct Store Delivery network; and collaboration with retail partners on co-branding opportunities.
“The definition of a good acquisition for Rich’s is one that brings long-term growth and value through the addition of interesting products, solid operations and talented people. Celebration Foods is just such a company,” said Bill Gisel, Rich’s president and chief executive officer.
Rich’s now oversees the state-of-the-art production facility in New Britain. The relatively new manufacturing plant enables the company to partner with customers in more-flexible ways in order to bring dessert solutions to consumers. This single-source, 135,000-square-foot production site was the recipient of the prestigious “Plant of the Year” award from Food Engineering magazine in 2009. Selected for best use of food manufacturing technology in a new facility, the plant was cited for its innovative engineering of new equipment, increased production output, energy savings and reduction in transportation and supply chain costs.
The acquisition by Rich’s included all aspects of the business – manufacturing, corporate operations, research and development, and a direct-store-distribution (DSD) system. Rich’s now sells Carvel-branded ice cream cakes under a license agreement with Focus Brands Inc.
The sign in front of the Connecticut plant, at “One Celebration Way” in New Britain, now says Rich’s. Inside, it’s business as usual. And, by “as usual,” we mean in a celebratory kind of way.