Natural Foods Merchandiser

Kehes acquisition of Tree of Life complete

Kehe Food Distributors today announced its official acquisition of Tree of Life. No immediate changes will take place, the company said.

Tree of Life’s Dutch parent company, Royal Wessanen nv, announced in late December that it was selling its natural and specialty foods divisions to Kehe for $190 million.

"I am excited about what this means for the future of our natural food store business,” said Greg Leonard, senior vice president of natural food sales for Tree of Life. “None of the core aspects of our natural food store business model will change as a result of this change of ownership. It is simply business-as-usual for our natural food store customers, in fact, I'm anxious for them to see service and product selection improvements from the new company,” he said.

Natural retail expert, Bill Crawford, director of retail publishing programs for New Hope Natural Media, was also optimistic about the sale. “[Kehe’s] staff, all of whom are both extraordinarily pleasant and competent, realize that there are a lot of questions from retailers, manufacturers and brokers about what the new company will look and act like. They are ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work integrating these two enterprises,” he said.

In a release from the new company, it informed its’ vendor and broker partners that the two entities are working out of two separate offices and using two separate financial and IT platforms. And that they should continue to deal with the same buying, sales, warehousing, transportation, accounting and other resources as before at Kehe and Tree of Life.

A town hall meeting will be held on Mar. 3 and Mar. 4 in Dallas to address pending changes.

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