J & J's Uptown Bakeries a good buy for Wawa business

That's "good buy," not "goodbye," because when Pennsauken, New Jersey-based J & J Snack Foods Corp. acquired Uptown Bakeries' assets for cash, it gained a bakery whose biggest customer was Wawa Food Markets.

Uptown Bakeries (Bridgeport, NJ) is a fresh snack wholesaler with approximately $17 million in annual sales. The transaction, closed Nov. 21, 2000, shows this to be the latest in J&J's growth plans.

Uptown's primary customer, Wawa Food Markets, is presently under a long-term contract for its 512 stores. Uptown is the exclusive provider of Wawa's in-store, branded fresh bakery products—muffins, bagels, donuts, fancies and soft pretzels. Gerald B. Shreiber, J & J's president and CEO, commented, "We are pleased to add these specialty bakery products to our product line and look forward to growing this category with Wawa Food Markets."

In February 1999, J & J Snack Foods Corp acquired the Camden Creek Bakery cookie business with approximately $4.6 million of sales in 1998 from Schwan's Sales Enterprises Inc. (Marshall, MN). (See our article of Feb. 5, 1999, J & J Snack Foods acquires Camden Creek.)

Camden Creek produces frozen, ready-to-bake cookies for the food service industry. At that time, Shreiber noted, "The acquisition of the Camden Creek Bakery cookie business will complement our growing Mrs. Goodcookie food service cookie line that was introduced to the marketplace last year." That acquisition provided opportunities for J & J to expand product lines into additional dayparts and menu settings."

J & J expects Uptown to add to its net earnings for its fiscal year, which ends in September 2001.

The acquisition followed the summer's acknowledgement that its fourth-quarter 2000 earnings would be significantly lower than those of 1999 due to slow foodservice snack product sales. The company trades at NASDAQ:JJSF, which can be tracked at My Bakery Online.

J & J has manufacturing facilities in Pennsauken, New Jersey; Scranton and Hatfield, Pennsylvania; Carrollton, Texas; and Vernon, California. Its principal products include Superpretzel soft pretzels, Icee and Arctic Blast frozen beverages, Luigi's, Mama Tish's, Shape-Ups, Minute Maid and Hi-C frozen juice bars and ices, Tio Pepe's churros and Mrs. Goodcookie and Camden Creek cookies. (Minute Maid and Hi-C are registered trademarks of The Coca-Cola Company.)

Edited by Chuck Boyles
Contributing Writer