CHICAGO, March 1, 2017 – Hickory Farms, LLC, a leading multi-channel retailer of branded specialty food gifts, today announced that it has moved its headquarters from Toledo, Ohio, to Chicago. The company, which recently celebrated its 65th anniversary, is reinventing its brand to build a solid foundation for future expansion.
The company is eyeing growth through new customer segments and new product offerings, while expanding current sales channels, which include retail, wholesale, ecommerce and catalog for consumer and corporate gifting.
“Our mission is to be the best retailer in the food-gifting space, and to accomplish that, we need to focus on our strategic priorities,” said Diane Pearse, CEO. “The Chicago market is rich with retail companies, food manufacturers and ecommerce businesses, so as we grow our business, we will be able to attract the additional talent we need to transform the company.”
Pearse took over as CEO in March 2016. She has more than 35 years of experience in operations, financial management and leadership roles with consumer product and retail companies such as Redbox, Crate & Barrel and Garrett Brands, LLC.
She was brought on by Modjule, LLC, which acquired Hickory Farms in 2015. The Chicago-based private investment company invests in and operates small-footprint, multi-unit retail and consumer businesses. Modjule’s philosophy is based on years of successful operating and investing experience with companies including Redbox, Coinstar, McDonald’s, Baird Capital, American Capital, Wind Point Partners and Bain & Company.
To grow the company, leadership considered the advantages of creating a central hub that makes it more efficient for Hickory Farms to do business. The company’s key suppliers are in the Chicago area and Midwest region, and its distribution warehouse is in nearby Joliet, Ill.
“We are thrilled Hickory Farms is joining the growing family of companies and corporations that call Chicago home,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “Between our diverse economy, transportation infrastructure and unparalleled talent, Chicago is a perfect fit for Hickory Farms, and we look forward to being part of its bright future.”
Hickory Farms was founded in Toledo 65 years ago by the late Richard Ransom, and the company will continue to maintain roots in its hometown, as some business functions will be run from a Toledo office. However, key business functions will move to Chicago, including senior leadership, marketing, product development and merchandising, and supply chain.
“This investment by Hickory Farms will produce good jobs for Illinois residents and help strengthen our economy,” Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner said. “We’re thrilled that Hickory Farms chose to relocate to Illinois. Now we need to build on this success and make structural changes that attract employers, and new jobs, to our state.”
For 65 years, Hickory Farms has been a leading retailer of food gifts and specialty foods online, in catalogs, and in leading mass merchants, supermarkets, and approximately 700 seasonal retail shopping locations. For more information, visit www.hickoryfarms.com.