Ridgefield food distributor Ideal purchased

In business since 1957, it relocated from B.G. in 2008

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter

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Ideal Food Products Inc., a Ridgefield-based distributor of perishable foods, has been acquired by Tony's Fine Foods of West Sacramento, Calif., the two companies announced Tuesday.

The two companies declined to disclose a sale price.

Formerly based in Battle Ground, Ideal Food Products Co. opened its 35,000-square-foot distribution facility in Ridgefield in 2008. The company is located in the Union Ridge business development west of the Interstate 5 junction with the Pioneer Street overpass.

Tony's had already begun to merge some of its Pacific Northwest operations with Ideal, said Randy Frisk, Ridgefield-based director of sales and marketing for Tony's. His company plans to retain Ideal's personnel -- approximately 25 employees. The company also envisions adding personnel and distribution space over time, as Tony's expands its reach in terms of specialty food distribution in the region.

Ideal's Ridgefield facility at 759 S. 74th Place is just west of Dollar Tree Inc's massive, 660,000-square-foot distribution warehouse, a center the size of 11 football fields.

Officials from Tony's, which generates annual revenue approaching $700 million, saw Ideal as a strategic acquisition, Frisk said. He added that Ideal generates annual revenue of approximately $25 million by providing perishable foods to an established list of Northwest retailers including Whole Foods and New Seasons Market.

"Now we'll be able to offer the products that we offer Northern California customers to those in the Pacific Northwest," Frisk said.

Wide coverage area

The Ridgefield facility distributes products up and down the I-5 corridor from north of Seattle south to Eugene, Ore., and east to Bend, Ore., said Dawn Johnson, who is selling Ideal with her husband and business partner, Shane Johnson. The couple have owned the company for the past 12 years, Dawn Johnson said.

"We purchased it from another company," she said. "It's been in business since 1957."

The Johnsons moved Ideal from Vancouver to Battle Ground two years after they purchased it, growing and grooming the business for an eventual sale, Dawn Johnson said. She and her husband expect to remain actively involved with the company.

"Our employees are thrilled," she said, adding that Tony's offers an excellent benefit package.

Frisk said Tony's foray into the Pacific Northwest food distribution arena will help the company compete with national competitors, such as Atlanta-based DPI Specialty Foods, Peterson and United Natural Foods Inc., which also operates a 260,000-square-foot distribution center in Ridgefield.