Dealerships form Strategic Partnership

B&G Restaurant Supply and Johnson-Lancaster team up to form Eastern B&G Food Service Equipment.

 

The continued evolution of the foodservice dealer community took an interesting twist last week with the owners of Massachusetts-based B&G Restaurant Supply forming a partnership with Florida-based Johnson-Lancaster and Associates. The two companies opened a joint office in Westwood, Mass., that will go to market as Eastern B&G Food Service Equipment and will ultimately include foodservice professionals from thee different dealerships.

In addition to associates from B&G and Johnson-Lancaster, the new office will feature employees from Eastern Bakers Supply Company, a Boston-based foodservice equipment and supplies dealer that is in the process of exiting the business. “This was their succession plan — to have us take over their operations in a new place,” said Tricia Powers Dambrauskas, chief financial officer for B&G Restaurant Supply.

Eastern’s headquarters is in an area considered prime real estate in downtown Boston, which served as an impetus to complete the deal. “We had talks in the past about possibly merging,” Dambrauskas said. “They had been getting offers on their building for years and had received one they did not want to refuse. They had to be out of their building by the end of the year and that kind of got the clock running. But they also wanted to have a plan for their customers, employees and inventory.”

While not a complete asset sale, B&G bought some of Eastern’s inventory and hired Eastern’s employees. In fact, Eastern has spent the past six months partially serving its customers from B&G’s Pittsfield location. “Now, all of their salespeople are working from this location,” Dambrauskas said.

At the same time it was in discussions with Eastern, B&G was preparing to open a joint office with Johnson-Lancaster. Earlier this year, Johnson-Lancaster had hired Noel Moreira to work in the Northeast. “He was looking for some office and warehouse space and he knew we were looking to get into the Boston area more,” Dambrauskas said.

Once the dust settles, the new Eastern B&G office will have roughly 20 people, including 15 former Eastern employees. “A full staff of people came over trained and ready to go. So, it made the venture larger,” Dambrauskas said.

The Westwood, Mass., location sits about 15 minutes outside of Boston. The 17,000-square-foot location includes space for offices, a warehouse, a showroom and a distribution center, Dambrauskas said. Come next summer Eastern B&G will take over an additional 20,000 square feet of warehouse space at the same location.

B&G and Johnson-Lancaster use different go-to-market strategies, with the former being a strong regional player while the other is a more project-driven company with national aspirations. Despite these differences, the two companies’ business models do share a key common attribute. “Both of our companies have strong backgrounds in redistribution,” Dambrauskas said. “We are used to working with other dealerships to develop relationships that are good for all of us.”

 

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