SeaBear Wild Salmon is a bigger fish in the food catalog pond. The Anacortes, WA-based mailer acquired GD Seafoods, which does business under the Gerard & Dominique (G&D) brand, on April 1. Both are privately held companies, and terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“SeaBear and GD are two amazingly complementary businesses, both on a core brand basis and more broadly on product lines and channels of distribution,” says SeaBear president Mike Mondello. “Both companies are focused on building premier specialty niche brands, with a passion for quality and customers.”
Dominique Place and his wife, ChouChou, serve as GD Seafoods president and vice president of sales, respectively. Both will remain with the company. The SeaBear brand will continue to operate out of its Anacortes facility, while the GD Seafoods, with its 20 employees, will remain at its Woodinville, WA-based operation.
SeaBear Co., which includes the SeaBear and Made In Washington brands, employs 75 people year round; during the holiday season, its staff more than doubles, Mondello says. He believes the G&D product line is filled with items that SeaBear can offer, such as smoked scallops, stuffed salmon roasts, and seafood parfaits, that are “a natural fit for our Web and catalog business.”
What’s more, he says, “our infrastructure will help the G&D brand to drive continued growth.” SeaBear’s wholesale sales team will help G&D extend its reach into greater retail and food service distribution. Its direct operation “will be of great value to expanding G&D sales through this channel.”
Mondello says his company, which has been in the mail order business since the late 1970s, mails about 2 million catalogs each year. “While we have not made any final plans, I suspect the addition of GD Seafoods will not have a meaningful increase on our mailings. But we will certainly include the G&D brand in our expanding Web marketing efforts,” he adds.
Lee Helman, managing director with New York-based investment bank Financo, says the deal is “a strong cultural and geographic fit,” he says. “Consolidation in the food and gift sector makes a lot of sense given the economies of scale and ability to diversify product offerings.”
And the opportunities to expand distribution channels is exciting for both businesses, Helman notes. The two merchants can leverage the strength of sales and marketing efforts “by selling products that end-users in all channels are already buying — probably from somewhere else.”