River Ranch debt-free after Taylor Farms buy - The Packer

River Ranch debt-free after Taylor Farms buy

08/17/2010 06:00:04 PM
Ashley Bentley

The other attractive aspect is River Ranch’s commodity business, Taylor said.

“Our customers have been asking us to add commodities in consolidation, and this is going to allow us to do that well,” Taylor said.

While the two companies will maintain separate sales staffs, Taylor said a few Taylor Farms employees should make the transition to River Ranch to bolster what is already going on there.

River Ranch’s business is split about 50-50 between retail and foodservice Taylor said. Its brands include Popeye spinach and fresh-cut vegetables, as well as its own namesake brand and a handful of private-label programs.

Bruce Knobeloch has been leading River Ranch as chief operating officer since rejoining the company in February. Knobeloch was laid off from his position as vice president of marketing the year prior, when River Ranch cut 2% of its work force during the height of the recession.

John Bowman, a board member, served as interim president until recently, Taylor said.

“We’re still trying to sort out who’s going to do what there,” Taylor said. “We think Bruce has done a terrific job there, and we think very highly of him.”

A few changes are already decided, though, Taylor said. Under the new ownership, River Ranch should be expanding its commodity programs.

“Over the last couple years they’ve been reducing their commodity volumes, but we’ll take that area and ramp that up again,” Taylor said.

Taylor said he also expects River Ranch to continue to be innovative on the value-added side, which is also the primary focus for Taylor Farms.


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