Specialist wholesale food and drink business becomes employee owned

North Yorkshire-based wholesale distributor Crofter’s Foods Ltd has become the latest company to transfer its entire shareholding to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).

More than 10 staff have become part-owners of the artisan food and drink business.

Founded in 2005 by Grahame and Jane Armitage, the specialist company works with small local suppliers to distribute chilled, frozen and ambient products wholesale throughout Yorkshire and the North East.

Crofter’s began as a small operation, collecting products from regional Yorkshire suppliers and delivering on a regular journey plan.

It has evolved through organic growth to become a long-term supplier to leading independent retailers, hospitality venues and supermarkets with more than 250 customers. It operates from a warehouse and head office at Thirsk Europark.

Grahame Armitage is remaining within the business as director with Dave Wood as managing director.

Armitage said: “Transferring ownership into an EOT ensures the special culture and values of Crofter’s Foods live on for next chapter of the company.

“It is a just reward for the hard work and talent of our loyal team who have helped make the business such a success over the past 19 years.

“The move to employee ownership will provide a platform for further growth of the business and continuity of service for our valued customers under the people who know it best and are most committed to its future – its employees.”

Accountancy firm Azets in Yorkshire provided deal and tax advisory services.

The team comprised corporate finance partner Tariq Javaid, tax senior manager Karen Sadler, and corporate finance executive Patrick Cree.

Stephen Newman and Meryem Akcicek-Bayston at Yorkshire law firm Ramsdens Solicitors provided legal advice.

Javaid said: “Crofter’s is a great Yorkshire business, promoting and selling great Yorkshire produce.

“With its family culture, values and quality of people, the company is well suited to employee ownership.

“It was a privilege to work with Grahame in assisting with the transition, and the business can look forward to the future with confidence under its new ownership structure.”

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