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£500k takeover deal heralds significant expansion for successful Yorkshire food supplier

FOOD firm S Clift Grimsby Limited has been acquired by Scarborough-based Stuart’s Foods in a deal that could eventually be worth £500,000, with plans to significantly grow both businesses.

£500k takeover deal heralds significant expansion for successful Yorkshire food supplier

This exciting new development is part of Stuart’s mission to become the ‘go-to’ brand for quality, ethically-sourced ingredients in the North.

Stuart’s - which now serves in excess of 800 customers across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire; employs 33 people; operates 18 delivery vans, and delivers more than 170,408 litres of milk and 527,467 kilograms of potatoes in an year - has taken on S Clift and its 13 Lincolnshire-based staff, and premises, as a going concern.

Stuart’s plans to maintain the name in recognition of its rich heritage and strong customer and supplier relationships.

At the same time, the company plans to invest a further half-a-million into S Clift over the next five years, with modernising upgrades including applying for industry food handling accreditations and new refrigerated vans.

The purchase is likely to be the first in an ongoing acquisition process aimed at extending the footprint of Stuart’s through the acquisition of complementary businesses including, potentially, butchers, bakers, delis and food wholesalers.

Third generation family business S Clift Grimsby Limited, was originally set up in 1927. The opportunity for Stuart’s to purchase it came up after the most recent owner wanted to retire at 67, and his children were no longer interested in running the business.

The deal will extend the Scarborough company’s already extensive reach, to include major towns like Hull, York, Lincoln, Harrogate, Thirsk, Northallerton, Whitby, Malton and Skegness. The client base of the extended business now includes major players like North Yorkshire County Council; York Teaching NHS Trust (including the Scarborough and Malton hospitals); McCains; the Grimsby Institute college and Yorkshire Coast College.

“We’ve built up a strong understanding of the catering trade over the past four decades and we’re passionate about promoting and supporting the whole healthy eating agenda,” said Stuart’s Managing Director, Damian Howarth.

“Our direct relationships with growers and other quality suppliers in our region mean we are able to source the best quality ingredients and deliver them to our clients with minimum road miles – straight from field to fork.

“Many of our local authority clients in particular have quite strict requirements around food standards, and this means that we are able to take care of this for them and help them meet their targets.”

“The acquisition of S Clift will support this by opening up a new network of suppliers and customers on the south bank of the Humber.

“It was a natural fit for us, as a very customer focused business with a strong reputation and heritage like our own,” added Damian.

“Acquiring S Clift now gives us an opportunity to cross-fertilise between it and Stuart’s.

“Our existing business benefits from a new set of suppliers and customers, while we can introduce new product lines into S Clift, to enhance its offering, as well as bringing some of its infrastructure, systems and processes into line with contemporary requirements such as STS, SALSA and Red Tractor standards.”

“We’re proud to say that Stuart’s Foods has gone from strength to strength over the past 30 years since our parents set it up and this deal represents the beginning of what we hope will be a phase of serious expansion through acquisition.”

Stuart’s Foods is now run by Damian and his sister Samantha, supported by Damian’s wife Michelle and a very focused team in Scarborough. It was originally established in 1986, now being run by the second generation of the family, and has built up an impressive client list including hotels, restaurants, local authorities, food producers and staff canteens. It now serves in excess of 800 clients on a daily basis.

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