Robert Rothschild Farm, an Urbana-based gourmet food producer, will add jobs after acquiring several product lines from a food manufacturer based in Napa Valley, Calif.
Jim Gordon, president of Robert Rothschild Farm, said the company has purchased the assets and several product lines of Tulocay & Co., a premium food manufacturer from California. Those products, including sauces, dipping oil, marinades, condiments and rubs, eventually will be produced in Urbana at the Rothschild Farm facility on U.S. 36.
“We are committed to growing this business both organically and by acquisition,” said Gordon, whose company employs about 50 workers currently.
Gordon has previously said Rothschild Farm is a roughly $27 million a year business, but said it could eventually become a $45 million business within a few years.
The Tulocay & Co. deal has been in the works for six months, Gordon said, and was made possible due to a recent agreement with Rothschild Farm, Urbana and Champaign County officials earlier this year. Each of those entities worked out a deal to extend a sanitary sewer line to the company, which is outside Urbana’s city limits on U.S. 36. The company also received a 40 percent, five-year tax credit from the Ohio Tax Credit Authority.
The brand names purchased by Rothschild Farm include, “Made in Napa Valley,” and “Vineyard Pantry,” among others. With the acquisition, Gordon said he expects growth into new categories of foods and more product offerings for customers.
It’s not yet clear how many local jobs will be created by moving production of those products to Urbana, Gordon said. However, as part of its agreement with the state, Rothschild Farm will be required to create as many as 25 new, full-time jobs and agree to remain in Champaign County for at least eight years. Most of the jobs that are created will be on the production side of the business.
Officials from Tulocay & Co. could not be reached for comment this week, and representatives from both companies are attending the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York this weekend. The agreement will allow the California company to focus more attention on its granola, healthy snack and cereal business.
“This is a growing market in which Tulocay is well positioned in a number of channels, including grocery, convenience, specialty and export,” Robert Long, president and owner of Tulocay & Co., said in a press release.
The products purchased from Tulocay & Co. are a good fit for Rothschild Farm, which produces dips, preserves, condiments, coffees and numerous other products, Gordon said.
“This business compliments what we do extremely well,” Gordon said, adding that he is on the lookout for opportunities to expand the Urbana business.
While he declined to discuss the purchase price for the acquisition, Gordon said Rothschild Farm typically looks for deals that are accretive, essentially meaning the acquisition will increase Rothschild Farms’ earnings per share.
In the meanwhile, a legal dispute between Urbana, Rothschild Farm and the Buckeye Wind Farm is pending at the Ohio Power Siting Board. The wind farm is planning to install about 100 turbines throughout the county and had sought an amendment to the original application that would allow them to move a temporary construction yard to U.S. 36 and Three-Mile Road.
City officials raised concerns that the construction yard could potentially lead to damage at the sewer line extension for Rothschild Farm, which is near that intersection.
Rothschild Farm is neither opposed to nor in favor of the wind farm, Gordon said. However, it wants to make sure the sewer extension is not affected, and Gordon said so far he has had no contact with the wind company. Representatives from Buckeye Wind have stated the proposal to move the construction yard was designed to reduce the toll on county roads while the wind farm is built but would not disrupt the sewer extension.
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