Sid Wainer Sale Looks Good for the New Bedford Economy [OPINION]
A staple of the New Bedford economy has been sold to a publicly-traded company based out of Connecticut. The Chef's Warehouse is a solid company.
The Greater New Bedford community was shocked when they learned that Sid Wainer had been sold. The warehouse and drivers were told in the small hours of the morning when they reported for work. The media and the political leadership of the region learned of the sale from a press release sent out to the world.
There is likely a good and legal reason for the secrecy and then the mass notification of the business deal. The Chef's Warehouse is a publicly-traded company and there are laws and regulations around inside information that can impact the price of stocks. With that in mind, it is likely that all parties to the transaction were required to keep silent about the deal until there was a global announcement.
The Chef's Warehouse is an interesting specialty food company with locations in major cities across the United States and Canada and a leadership team that is world-class. The family who started the New England-based company is still in charge of the day-to-day operations.
Christopher Pappas is the Chairman, President, and CEO of the company and his co-founder, John Pappas, is on the Board of Directors and served for years as the Chief Operation Officer of the company.
Stephen F. Goldstone serves on the Board of Directors and he is the former chairman and chief executive officer of RJR Nabisco, Inc. and a director at the groundbreaking pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. Mr. Goldstone was previously the Chairman of ConAgra Foods, Inc. an innovative manufacturer of packaged food products in the US. Readers of the great business book Barbarians at the Gate by Bryan Burrough will recognize Mr. Goldstone.
Joseph Cugine has been a director for close to a decade. Today he is the president of BarFresh Food Group, Inc., and the owner and a partner of CKA Management, which owns and manages 70 Wendy’s and Taco Bell restaurant franchises. Previously, he was the president and co-owner of Argo Tea, based in Chicago. Additionally, he has held a series of general manager and sales leadership roles throughout PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble.
Another member of the board is Stephen Hanson who built a chain of restaurants in multiple states and has dedicated much of his time to encouraging art in the lives of children.
Katherine Oliver, another director sits on the board of 1-800-FLOWERS and previously served as New York City’s Commissioner of Media & Entertainment under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Her private sector experience includes being the General Manager of Bloomberg Radio & Television. She is a founding Principal at Bloomberg Associates, which was established by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to help improve the lives of citizens in cities around the world. Ms. Oliver oversees the media and technology portfolio, advising mayors and international civic leaders on economic development and public communications strategies and helping them harness the power of media and technology to improve government services according to her biography.
Dominick Cerbone has over 40 years of accounting and business consulting experience from his work at Ernst and Young. EY is a powerhouse in the world of finance and accounting and it isn't an exaggeration to say "the sun never sets on Ernst and Young."
Those are some of the business experts that looked at Sid Wainer and determined it was worth every penny and green-lighted the purchase of the New Bedford company. This investment in New Bedford, with sales estimated at $180 million annually, is a vote of confidence in the region and the future.
Entrepreneurship, technology, investment capital, skilled labor, and the courage to take risks once made New Bedford the wealthiest city in the world. I'm looking forward to this next chapter in the business world of the "city that once lit the world."
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.