Posted: Sept. 23, 2013, 4:50 p.m. EDT
The roster of independent pet product distributors lost another member last week when Animal Supply Co. and RFG Distributing Inc. agreed to a merger that puts the combined business in more than 40 states and 8,000 pet stores.
New Hope, Minn.-based RFG will continue to operate under its current name and management, starting with president Steve Thoeny.
The transaction called for Thoeny to invest an undisclosed amount in Animal Supply and join its board of directors. Other details were not announced.
"The partnership with RFG enables Animal Supply to serve a broader cross section of the independent retail community and continue its rollout of value-added retail services across the country,” Seattle-based Animal Supply reported. "RFG will be able to offer its customers a broader product assortment and additional value-added services by leveraging the collective best practices and resources of the Animal Supply family.”
Animal Supply has been on an acquisition frenzy over the past year. Southern California competitor Pet Food Wholesale Inc. was purchased in July. Earlier, Animal Supply acquired distributors operating in the Eastern, Southeastern and Western United States. The four companies were Wholesome Pet Distributing of Orrville, Ohio; Summit Pet Product Distributors of Greensboro, N.C.; Lone Star Pet Supply of Schertz, Texas; and Zeus & Co. California (West), a division of Chicago-based Zeus & Co.
Zeus itself was sold in August to East Coast wholesaler Pet Food Experts Inc. of Cumberland, R.I.
The latest consolidation in the distributor network will benefit retailers, Thoeny said.
"That’s why we’re doing this—to ensure the success of the independents and bring the products, bring the programs to make them successful,” he said. "If they’re successful, we’re successful, so instead of PFG doing it on their own in our area, we’re all working together as a group.”
Animal Supply and family-owned RFG pointed to the similarities in how they do business as a reason why the marriage promises to be long-lasting.
"We also share very similar cultures and values, as our mission statements are nearly identical,” Thoeny said.
Animal Supply’s chairman, Randy Reber, was happy with the arrangement.
"The Thoenys’ and RFG’s long-term dedication to the success of the independent pet specialty market makes this a perfect partnership,” Reber said. "We are honored to join together with the entire RFG family in our pursuit to deliver unmatched retail success to the independent pet channel.”
RFG employs 200 people, serves 14 states and operates warehouses in New Hope; Milwaukee; Des Moines, Iowa; and Springfield, Mo. All together, Animal Supply and its divisions will manage 17 warehouses.
Animal Supply and Pet Food Experts aren’t the only distributors beefing up their holdings.
Phillips Pet Food & Supplies of Easton, Pa., acquired three companies effective June 1: PFX Pet Supply of West Sacramento, Calif.; Pet Food Ltd. of Tampa, Fla.; and Pet Food Ltd. Colorado of Colorado. Months earlier, Phillips purchased Royal Pet Supplies, which operates distribution centers in Brentwood, N.Y., and Pompano Beach, Fla.
Animal Supply and its divisions divide the United States into five sections.
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