Hale Groves Parent Buys Pittman & Davis

Apr 10, 2008 6:10 PM  By

Southern Fulfillment Services (SFS) has acquired Pittman & Davis, a catalog and Internet company offering high quality fruits and other gourmet foods. Terms of the deal, which was announced on April 7, were not disclosed.

Vero Beach, FL-based SFS already owns food gifts mailer Hale Groves, so the addition of Pittman & Davis will complement that business. The company reportedly plans to maintain the Pittman & Davis brand and will market the two catalogs separately.

Harlingen, TX-based Pittman & Davis is known for its Texas grapefruit, as well as its other fresh fruit and gourmet food gift selections. Although it is primarily a holiday season cataloger, it offers seasonal fruit shipping year-round.

Meanwhile SFS provides fulfillment for other companies in both food and non-food categories and currently works with national catalog and Internet companies. The company offers order processing, private label packing and other fulfillment operations all the way to final delivery.

When asked what synergies SFS hopes to realize from the deal, Bob Daberkow vice president of business intelligence for the company, said, “We see a number of advantages to making this deal. This purchase allows us to expand our purchasing power, provides alternatives should we have a fruit crisis (such as after the hurricanes in 2004), and opens the door to provide fruit and services to an expanding base of customers (geographically, demographically and economically).”

Daberkow said SFS decided to keep the Pittman & Davis brand intact because “we feel there are opportunities to serve different customers with the different brands. The Pittman brand appeals to the value shopper that concentrates on price and quality, while the Hale brand appeals more to a mid to upper ticket customer that buys for quality, presentation, timing of delivery and to a lesser degree on price.”

In a press release, Don Wright, president and CEO of SFS, said Pittman & Davis is “a great brand with a lot of tradition” and that he looks forward “to be operating from both Florida and Texas.”

Daberkow said SFS plans to retain all Pittman & Davis employees and also plans to keep its physical facilities intact. With this acquisition, SFS now owns and operates more than 324,000 sq. ft. of office and production facilities in both Florida and Texas.

“We will change the operations very little,” Wright said, “but will take advantage of the geographic location by adding multiple brands to our Texas fulfillment operations.”