Allens changes name to Sager Creek Vegetable Company

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 649 views 

Allens, an iconic name in Arkansas’ business history, is changing its moniker effective immediately to Sager Creek Vegetable Company as part of new ownership and management changes.

Officials with Siloam Springs-based Sager Creek made the announcement Tuesday (July 8), and said product brand names like Allens, veg-all, Allens Popeye Spinach, Freshlike, TRAPPEY’S, Princella, Allens Butterfield, Royal Prince and Sugary Sam will not change..

“Sager Creek is a beautiful resource that runs through our hometown of Siloam Springs, Ark.,” CEO Chris Kiser said in the statement. “Our company was founded in this region in 1926, and this place has nurtured and helped sustain our business. Our new name reflects our history and better positions us to strengthen our brands in the marketplace.”

Sager Creek Acquisitions Corp. acquired the 87-year-old Allens, Inc., in February of this year. Kiser was named CEO in March. It was the first time in 88 years that the Allen family is not running the company. CEO Josh Allen stepped away from the family business as a result of the company’s bankruptcy sale.

Kiser has more than 20 years experience in the food business, from his early years as a vice president for Campbell Soup Company to managing national accounts for Diago, to nearly seven years at Pinnacle Food as executive vice president of sales. He later spent three years as president of AdvancePierre Foods, overseeing the company’s retail and foodservice business.

Sager Creek now employs more than 1,000 people in Arkansas, Wisconsin and North Carolina.

Allens filed bankruptcy in October, and the company showed $294.465 million in assets and debts of $287.945 million. The company notes that income had been tight since 2012, when Allens reported $420 million in 2012 revenue, down 30% from 2011. Allens officials made several moves in 2012 to shore up business, including a March 2012 announcement that Allens was selling six frozen vegetable brands to the French company, Bonduelle Group.

The company also announced in early 2012 that the company would move operations and 150 jobs from Van Buren into an Allens canning operation in Siloam Springs. The company’s Van Buren warehouse operation was expected to remain open.

Consolidating the canning operations came more than 30 months after Van Buren operations were expanded. In June 2010 the company announced a more than $20 million expansion that included a $13.5 million investment in the company’s Van Buren operation. The $13.5 million investment in Van Buren expanded the company’s capacity to process sweet potatoes.

Twice in the past few years Allens' execs sought to merge with Seneca Foods. Once in 2011, the two companies said they in hoped to merge, but after months of due diligence the firms could not reach an agreement and abandoned the deal.

Allens then approached Seneca Foods about being the stalking horse bidder in the firm’s bankruptcy sale. Seneca was outbid by Sager Creek Acquisition and McCall Foods, who submitted the backup offer.