BOSTON – College Hill Capital Partners (CHCP) announced the formation of a better-for-you dairy and plant-based frozen dessert company that the private equity firm is calling College Circle Creamery (CCC).
The new company will own and operate frozen dessert and novelty production facilities. Coinciding with its launch, CCC acquired Florida-based ice cream and non-dairy frozen dessert maker Luke’s Ice Cream. Terms of the purchase were not disclosed.
Luke’s, which has established partnerships with consumer brands and distributors, has a manufacturing facility in Riviera Beach, Fla., where it makes such products as ice cream pints, cups, foodservice tubs, sandwiches and cones.
CHCP announced it named Joe Campbell as CCC’s chief executive officer and Tim Markowicz as chief operating officer. Lorn C. Davis, a co-founder and managing partner of CHCP, will serve as chairman of the board and strategic advisor.
Per CHCP, the founders of Luke’s Ice Cream, Kevin and Jody Lukasiewicz, will act as special advisors for up to six months post-closing during the ownership transition.
The Boston-based private equity firm also shared that CCC plans to expand its portfolio and capabilities via additional acquisitions, licensing and research and development. The company plans to scale its manufacturing capacity with the growth of Luke’s operations. CCC expects to double the number of employees at the Florida facility and invest in more manufacturing locations.
“For as long as I have been in the food industry, one constant has remained: consumers always find room in their budget and their bellies for indulgences,” Campbell said. “When it comes to frozen desserts, there is a clear desire for more creative ‘better for you’ choices yet there has been a lack of innovation in this space. There are many smaller brands with great products coming to market, but they have been limited by fewer resources, less experience and mounting pressures – including rising cost pressures, increasing safety standards and growing frozen shelf space competition, to name a few.”
The CEO said CCC wants to fill the innovation gap in frozen desserts.
“By doing so we are positioning College Circle Creamery in the sweet spot of a fast-growing market opportunity to deliver value for customers and consumers, including the 86% of U.S. consumers that eat ice cream at least once per week,” he said.
The chairman of CCC’s board, Davis said product innovation and manufacturing capacity will be crucial as the company looks to expand and invest.
“With College Circle Creamery, we seek to catapult targeted frozen dessert brands to market at scale,” Davis said. “Luke’s is an incredible first asset to welcome to our portfolio with impressive products, great customer relationships and exceptional manufacturing capabilities. The formation of College Circle Creamery fits squarely in CHCP’s differentiated long-term investment horizon and our focus on industries where we have deep domain experience, strategic relationships and strong operating resources."