For 60 years, family-owned Kelley Foods of Alabama, which is headquartered in Elba, has manufactured and distributed meat products, delivering goods statewide and across Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana. On September 8, 2016, the company announced today an acquisition putting them under the Ben E. Keith Foods out of Fort Worth, Texas.
“With the caliber of the company that Ben E. Keith is, being that they’re family-owned, we knew how they treated their employees, we knew how they treated their customers, and we though this might be something we want to take a look at and do our due diligence on,” said Kelly Foods President and CEO Eddie Kelley.
They will soon sign on the dotted line, starting a new chapter and a new family history. As part of the acquisition, the company will still retain the Kelley Foods name.
“Ben E. Keith plans to grow this location, to expand our distribution division as well as our manufacturing division,” Kelley said.
He said the new company will keep the 175 people currently employed there and ultimately expand, adding more employees.
“Jerry and I will continue for some time in an advisory capacity,” he said, referring to Vice President of Distribution Jerry Kelley. “Scott Kelley will continue to lead the manufacturing division indefinitely, on Ben E. Keith’s behalf.”
Kelley and others have said the change of hands is good for the long run.
“I can tell you Kelley Foods was looking out for the best interest of their employees, and at the end of the day, their community. So, I think what you will see is a win for everybody,” said Jonathan Tullos with the Wiregrass Economic Development Corporation.
“There are lots of emotions tied directly to your company and your family members, so it was not a decision that was made lightly,” Kelley said. “It was a decision that was made with great consideration, but it was the right decision at the right time.”
The transaction is expected to close on September 30, 2016.