Mackenzie Ltd. sold

Baltimore-based gourmet food cataloger Mackenzie Ltd. was sold in July to another Baltimore company, Astral Foods. The parent company of 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.

Mackenzie Ltd. will become a fully owned subsidiary of Astral Foods and will continue to operate under its current management structure and at its current headquarters. Manufacturing and fulfillment will consolidate to World Class Fulfillment, which specializes in perishable-food fulfillment.

Astral Foods has a 16-page catalog. President Steve Cohen is looking to Mackenzie to help triple its catalog business.

“In the past two years, the one main target for us has been our catalogs and Website,” says 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.”

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 this past 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. Mackenzie had merged its mail order business with that of Belfast, ME-based smokehouse Ducktrap River Fish Farm in May 2004.

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