March 19, 2018

Central Garden & Pet Company, a producer and distributor of branded and private label products for the lawn & garden and pet supplies markets, has signed a binding agreement to acquire all business assets of General Pet Supply, a Midwestern U.S. supplier of pet food and supplies.

“This acquisition is very consistent with the business unit strategy,” Central Pet Distribution President Keith Bornholtz told Pet Age. “Central is committed to the distributed model long term This will enable us to better serve customers and vendors that are also committed to the distributed model. I have great respect for Bob [Merar, president of General Pet Supply] and his leadership team, and together we will offer an improved national solution.”

According to Merar, the deal not only creates a distributor with a strategic platform that will succeed on a national level, but it also benefits both teams and their clients, creating a strategic platform for retailers and brands.

“It’s a win-win situation,” Merar told Pet Age. “We respect Central and what they stand for. Our two companies are a perfect fit for one another. The lack of overlap of our coverage is key.”

Bornholtz also recognizes the perfect marriage of territory coverage. general pet supply4

“It’s pretty exciting,” Bornholtz said. “It makes a lot of sense. The geographies are 100 percent complimentary. We’re not currently competitors in any of the markets that we serve. It really fills out the national coverage capability for Central Pet Distribution.

“We spent the better part of the last two years developing a clear strategy, and it included the appropriate acquisitions in that strategy, and so this is very consistent with what we set out to accomplish,” Bornholtz continued. “It creates not only the national network, but it also creates opportunity for growth. [In addition to] our current channel serving the independent retailer base, which we’ve historically done for a very long time, [the acquisition] opens up the opportunity to service the veterinary channel, which is an incredibly important piece of the pet business… Bob and his team have had a long history of success in that channel.”

Last year, Pet Age named General Pet Supply as the Distributor of the Year. As Pet Age reported in that piece, General started distributing Science Diet in 1968 and has continued as a Hill’s distributor since then.

“The addition of General Pet Supply gives our company unparalleled distribution capabilities in the pet industry,” said George Roeth, CEO and president of Central Garden & Pet. “The acquisition is important to us strategically as it fills out our national footprint, expands our food distribution business and provides us access to the veterinary channel. We are very excited to welcome General Pet’s management team and employees to the Central family. Our common approach to business, shared values and entrepreneurial spirit will ensure that we continue to enhance the service and selection of pet foods and supplies that we provide to all our customers.”

With Global Pet Expo next week, Central says it is looking forward to discussing this important development with its current and future customers and vendor partners. Central previously had a partnership alliance with General Pet Supply serving different regions of the country. The acquisition is expected to close in early April 2018.


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