Baltimore-based gourmet food cataloger Mackenzie Limited was sold this week to another Baltimore company, Astral Foods. The parent company to Chesapeake Bay Crabcakes and More, Chesapeake Bay Gourmet, and World Class Fulfillment, Astral Foods is owned by Atlanta-based Astral Brands, which generates approximately $100 million in annual wholesale sales and has 350 employees in North America.
“In the past two years, the one main target for us has been our catalogs and Website,” says Astral Foods president Steve Cohen. “We know we’re great manufacturers of gourmet food, but we needed help in the area of catalog/Web channel marketing. We feel like we bought one of the experts in that field. They’ve been in it for 16 years, and it took off under their tutelage. They have a 44-page catalog with great appeal and great photos, and they tie it into the Web as well.”
Mackenzie Limited will become a fully owned subsidiary of Astral Foods and continue to operate under its current management structure and at its current headquarters. Manufacturing and fulfillment will consolidate to World Class Fulfillment, a leading perishable-food fulfillment company.
Cohen says Astral Foods has a 16-page catalog. “We felt could get a much bigger breadth of menu by partnering or buying someone who had done four times our [catalog] revenue. It was a successful catalog business, but we’re looking for substantial growth, not 10% a year. We’re looking to triple our catalog business.”
Kate Glenn, marketing director for Mackenzie, says her company is thrilled with the transaction. “The biggest success for us will be Astral’s fulfillment capabilities,” she says. “From that standpoint, our weakness is their strength, with the size of their warehouse and freezer capacity. Most of our items are shipped frozen to customers. It’s going to be a great move.”
Glenn says Mackenzie’s catalog circulation last holiday season was about 500,000. She adds that Mackenzie usually has eight catalog drops per year. Its offerings range from aged balsamic vinegar to Maine lobster.