WALLINGFORD — Family-owned and operated Thurston Foods Inc. was purchased this week by California food distributor GS Foods Group.
The sales price was not disclosed, but representatives from the 74-year-old company said there will be no operational or personnel changes and the name and logo will remain. The company employs about 200 workers and hopes to hire more.
“We found a fit with no organizational changes,” said Thurston CEO Peter Malone, a second-generation member of the Thurston family. “We are celebrating our 74th anniversary and have always been a part of this community. We are like-minded in the way we approach business and our response to the community. They are expanding their footprint nationwide and we’re happy to be their footprint in Connecticut.”
Thurston Foods was founded in 1947 by William Thurston Sr. as an ice delivery and frozen locker storage company. Today members of the family’s second and third generations continue to run the warehouse and distribution network. The company has an inventory of 7,500 food and paper products to service schools, hospitals, health care facilities, restaurants and more. Its service area includes Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. It is considered one of the top distributors in the northeast.
GS Foods’ acquisition of Thurston will be its largest to date, significantly expanding the company’s footprint across the northeastern region, according to a press statement announcing the sale.
“The acquisition of Thurston Foods is another important step in GS Foods’ continued expansion as we work to reach more customers nationwide with leading product offerings and our unique expertise,” said GS Foods CEO Sean Leer in a prepared statement. “We are pleased to welcome a like-minded company and incorporate trusted industry leadership to GS Foods, who we know shares our commitment to customers and dedication to providing the best service possible.”
GS Foods Group is a family of specialized food service distribution companies that uses its network of facilities to provide food distribution and product solutions to specialized food service segments, including education, corrections, non-profit, business & industry and healthcare. GS Foods’ independent subsidiaries, Good Source Solutions Inc. and Gold Star Foods Inc., collectively serve over 8,500 customers nationwide. GS Foods is owned by affiliates of Highview Capital LLC and A&M Capital Partners.
The acquisition of Thurston Foods follows other recent acquisitions including C&C Produce, Classic Delight, School Lunch Products Inc., Fresno Produce and Hayes Distributing, as well as the opening of new distribution centers in Missouri, Pennsylvania, Texas, Colorado and Oregon.
Thurston Foods is also well known locally for its community support through food donations for fund raisers and holiday dinners, and its sponsorship of local sports teams.
Wallingford’s Business Recruiting Specialist Tim Ryan praised Thurston Foods for its business success and contributions to the community.
“Thurston Foods is a multi-generational family company,” Ryan said. “They have certainly made their mark in this town through their generosity and involvement in the community. I hope the new company acquiring them will have the same level of commitment.”
Thurston rejected other purchase offers that would have meant organizational changes to the business, Malone said.
“These guys are regular guys like us,” he stated. “With deep investments in our local community, we take our role as a good corporate neighbor very seriously and work to ensure our customers receive the products they need. We believe our partnership with GS Foods is the next chapter in fulfilling this promise as we continue to serve valued customers across the northeast. We look forward to integrating with GS Foods to create new opportunities for our dedicated team members and our food service partners nationwide.”