November 09, 2021
Investment and merger with Wheat Montana creates leading premium bakery in Western U.S.
CHICAGO, IL – November 9, 2021 | Tilia Holdings (“Tilia”), a Chicago-based private investment firm focused exclusively on the food and nutrition supply chain, is pleased to announce its investment in Stone Ground Bakery (“Stone Ground”), a premium artisanal bakery in the Rocky Mountain region.
As part of the investment, Stone Ground will merge with Wheat Montana, a leading provider of premium bakery and milled products throughout the Western United States. Tilia first invested in Wheat Montana in April 2021. The merger combines two leading bakeries known for their premium, clean-label products sold to foodservice and retail customers throughout the Western United States. Stone Ground and Wheat Montana will both continue to operate and sell under their existing brands.
Stone Ground was founded in 1979 by Hans Schmerse as a small European bakery. Using old world baking techniques, centuries-old family recipes, and a passion for bread, Stone Ground has become the premier bakery in Utah. The company provides artisan breads, gourmet hamburger buns, sliced breads, dinner rolls, and other specialty products to over 700 customers throughout the Rocky Mountain region.
Stone Ground is run by co-owners Tammy Hines and Derrick Schmerse, who will continue to oversee the Stone Ground operations and build upon the partnership with Wheat Montana. “We are excited by the growth investment from Tilia that will allow us to continue to invest in our facility and expand the distribution of Stone Ground products,” said Derrick Schmerse. “We have known Wheat Montana for a long time. Both businesses have built their reputations on providing the highest quality products and putting the customer first. We look forward to partnering with Wheat Montana and Tilia to grow our collective offering.”
“We are thrilled to partner with Stone Ground,” said Ron Ostrom, Chief Operating Officer of Wheat Montana. “They produce high quality, great tasting artisanal products, and they have developed an excellent reputation with their customers. We are excited to leverage the Wheat Montana distribution network to introduce Stone Ground’s products to customers throughout the west.”
Stone Ground represents Tilia’s third investment in the bakery sector, along with Ellison Bakery, a premier bakery solutions provider of cookies, crunches, inclusions and bars, and Wheat Montana.
“The investment in Stone Ground brings together two premier bakeries, each with a loyal customer following and rich heritage,” said Johannes Burlin, Co-CEO of Tilia. “Wheat Montana and Stone Ground provide complementary products and we expect both businesses to benefit from significant cross selling opportunities.”
Mayer Brown LLP served as legal counsel to Tilia, while Huntington National Bank and True West Capital Partners provided debt financing in support of the transaction. CapM Advisors served as exclusive financial advisor to Stone Ground Bakery.
ABOUT STONE GROUND
Stone Ground is the leading premium bakery in the Rocky Mountain region delivering fresh and frozen artisanal bread to restaurants, delis, resorts and other foodservice locations. The Company offers a variety of products using only the highest quality, all-natural ingredients, including ciabatta, brioche, sourdough, frozen pizza dough, and other specialty products. For more information on Stone Ground, please visit www.stonegroundbakery.com.
ABOUT WHEAT MONTANA
Wheat Montana is a leading provider of premium bakery and milled products. The Company offers a variety of clean-label, non-GMO and organic grains, flours, mixes, and fresh and frozen bread products to retail and wholesale customers throughout the United States. For more information on Wheat Montana, please visit www.wheatmontana.com.
ABOUT TILIA HOLDINGS Tilia is a Chicago-based private investment firm focused exclusively on making control investments in the evolving “farm-to-fork” segment of the global food system. Tilia partners with growing, middle market companies who provide business services across the food supply chain and support leading, emerging and private-label CPG brands. The firm’s sector focused strategy is a successful approach to investments that spans three decades. Tilia’s deep understanding of operations enables a collaborative partnership approach with management and uniquely positions the firm to scale business service companies in the lower middle market. Through a value creation & governance model emphasizing stewardship, Tilia builds distinctive growth companies that enhance safety, nutrition & sustainability in the food supply chain.