A Golden Acquisition

Frank Brooks eyes further expansion with purchase of manufacturing plant

Gold Signature Foods, a newly formed affiliate of Golden West Foods under Brooks Foods Group, is getting into the chicken business.

CEO Frank Brooks recently purchased a turkey manufacturing plant from Wampler Foods Inc. in Monroe, North Carolina, which he plans to convert into a chicken processing facility. The new plant will manufacture breaded and battered chicken tenders, patties and nuggets among other poultry and protein products.

While the acquisition marks a departure for Golden West (No. 71 on the be industrial/service 100 list with $30.5 million in sales), which currently produces frozen onion rings and French toast sticks, Brooks says the move was a goal from the start.

“We wanted to do chicken from day one, but we had a noncompete agreement that prohibited us from doing so for two years,” says Brooks. The new poultry plant will enable Golden West to do business with larger companies like Wampler Foods, more national and regional restaurant chains-such as KFC-and more school lunch programs across the U.S.

The new plant is twice the size of the former facility and will employ around 350 people. While Golden West had revenues of $30.5 million in 1997, Brooks doesn’t anticipate any significant revenue boost for Golden Foods, in the first year of operation. “There’ll be a lot of start-up costs to absorb among other things.

We expect to break even with about $15 million in revenue.”

The purchase price of the plant was undisclosed and renovations were slated to begin in early in the year.

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