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Highview Capital Acquires Gold Star Foods

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Gold Star Foods to be Merged with Good Source Solutions, a Highview Capital Portfolio Company, Creating a New Leader in Specialized Foodservice Distribution

ONTARIO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Highview Capital, LLC (“Highview”) today announced that it has acquired Gold Star Foods, Inc. (“Gold Star” or “the Company”), a leading specialized food distributor to K-12 child nutrition programs. As part of the agreement, Gold Star will merge with existing Highview portfolio company Good Source Solutions, Inc. (“Good Source”), a specialized food distributor focused on K-12, corrections and non-commercial segments. The merger will create a new holding company called GS Foods Group (“GS Foods”), and Sean Leer has been appointed CEO of the new entity. Gold Star and Good Source will continue to operate as independent brands.

The combination of Gold Star and Good Source will establish a new leader in specialized foodservice distribution for the K-12, corrections and other segments requiring specialized products & services. GS Foods will focus on these segments with sales and marketing programs tailored to meet customer needs, ultimately working to ensure that more students and customers have access to healthy, delicious and high-quality meals each day. The combined company will have a national footprint with substantial market presence across the United States, serving over 8,000 customers nationwide.

The transaction will bring together two companies with sophisticated sales and marketing, procurement, distribution, logistics and service capabilities, creating a national platform serving these markets. Gold Star and Good Source will continue to operate under their current names and branding in the foodservice industry, and each will continue to be led by their current management teams, with Sean Leer and Rich Friedlen serving as Presidents of Gold Star and Good Source, respectively. This transaction will enable both Gold Star and Good Source to better deliver specialized products and services to meet their customers’ needs.

Gold Star provides fresh, wholesome and nutritious foods with their school nutrition partners to over 4 million students each day, at 3,500 schools, and in 500+ school districts. The Company’s advanced facilities, proprietary technology and service systems enable their child nutrition customers to serve locally sourced foods, and also help them comply with the many aspects of USDA programs and regulations.

Sean Leer, President of Gold Star, said, “This is an exciting new chapter for our combined company and its employees, as well as the communities and school districts that we serve across the United States. Good Source is a like-minded partner with an exceptional management team and equally fierce commitment to providing safe, top-quality and sustainably sourced food. Combined, our companies will create an innovative platform to transform the supply system for school nutrition programs.”

Ryan McCarthy, Co-Founder of Highview, said, “This is a transformational deal, uniting two specialized foodservice powerhouses, which together will have a broad national footprint with highly complementary strengths. Gold Star earned its reputation for outstanding customer service and product quality, and we have been impressed by its distribution capabilities and presence within the K-12 market. Specialized foodservice distribution is a highly fragmented industry, and market leaders are differentiated by the sophistication and scale of their distribution network, as well as their commitment to quality and to satisfying the customer. We believe both Gold Star and Good Source more than meet these criteria, and we are excited to partner with and continue to support both brands.”

Highview acquired Gold Star from Castle Harlan, Inc. and Alvarez & Marsal Capital Partners (“Alvarez & Marsal”) participated in the transaction as a direct investor in the combined business. Sidley Austin LLP, Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Alvarez & Marsal advised the buyer group. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

About GS Foods Group

GS Foods Group is a family of specialized foodservice distribution companies. GS Foods uses its sophisticated network of facilities to provide trusted food distribution and product solutions to specialized foodservice segments, including education, corrections, non-profit, business & industry and healthcare. GS Foods’ independent subsidiaries, Good Source Solutions, Inc. and Gold Star Foods, Inc., collectively serve over 8,000 customers nationwide. GS Foods is a portfolio company of Highview Capital, LLC and Alvarez & Marsal Capital Partners.

About Gold Star Foods, Inc.

Gold Star Foods, Inc. is a leading distributor of wholesome, fresh and nutritious foods to students in K-12 schools. Based in Ontario, CA with facilities and operations across the Southwest United States, Gold Star serves students in over 3,500 K-12 schools in more than 500 school districts. Gold Star is proud to have been recognized nationwide for their innovation and partnership with both the USDA and the School Nutrition Association. For more information, visit www.goldstarfoods.com.

About Good Source Solutions, Inc.

Good Source Solutions, Inc., a Highview Capital, LLC portfolio company, is a specialized food distributor with sophisticated procurement and logistical capabilities, serving a wide spectrum of value-focused end markets through a national network of facilities. Good Source’s products focus on center-of-plate with an offering that includes poultry, meats, pasta, fruits, vegetables, bakery items, beverages, appetizers, sides, and snacks. Additionally, the Company provides menu & recipe planning and value-added product enhancements addressing complex packaging, labeling, nutrition, and dietary requirements. Good Source serves thousands of public and private-sector customers in the education, corrections, food service, healthcare, and non-profit markets, among others.

About Highview Capital, LLC

Highview Capital, LLC is an opportunistic private equity investment vehicle headquartered in Los Angeles, CA with approximately $500 million in assets under management providing transformational equity. Highview leverages its creative vision and expertise to partner with management teams of leading middle-market businesses undergoing periods of transformation, including growth, expansion, or performance improvement. For more information, visit www.highviewcp.com.

The Inland Empire Business Journal (IEBJ) is the official business news publication of Southern California’s Inland Empire region - covering San Bernardino & Riverside Counties.

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Saybridge Technologies’ Board of Directors Announces Byron J. Paul as CEO

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The SyBridge Technologies’ Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Byron J. Paul has joined SyBridge Technologies (“SyBridge” or the “Company”) as Chief Executive Officer and will also serve as a member of the Board of Directors.  Mr. Paul will build upon the Company’s strategic vision of becoming a global technological leader in value-added design and manufacturing solutions ranging from design and prototyping to production-as-a-service and aftermarket services for customers.  Mr. Paul brings extensive experience in industrial technology and a 20+ year track record of driving profitable growth in complex, global enterprises.

Mr. Paul was most recently Group President at Signode Industrial Group where he led a global portfolio of businesses focused on end-of-line packaging technologies and warehouse automation solutions.  He previously served as President of Destaco, a leading designer and manufacturer of precision engineered components for industrial automation and robotics applications. Mr. Paul has also held senior leadership roles at John Crane, a leader in rotating equipment solutions, and at the Boston Consulting Group.  Mr. Paul holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He also attended the University of Western Australia where he earned a Bachelor of Commerce with first class honors in accounting and finance.

Mr. Paul stated, “I am thrilled to be joining a world-class team at SyBridge Technologies. They have done an outstanding job expanding SyBridge Technologies’ global reach, growing from three sites in 2019 to 16 locations today. I look forward to partnering with the Board and Crestview Partners as we embark on the next phase of growth to build an unrivaled leader in digital manufacturing.”

Jason Luo, Chairman of SyBridge Technologies and Crestview Operating Executive noted, “Byron is a committed leader with a proven track record of successfully growing businesses and we are excited to partner with him as we plan to execute on the Company’s next chapter of growth.”

Mr. Paul succeeds Tony Nardone who has departed the company to pursue other interests. “We appreciate the many contributions Tony has made to SyBridge and wish him well in his future endeavors,” said Mr. Luo.

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Tips on Accessing Capital as an Under-resourced Small Business Owner

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Interview with Peter E. Jackson, MBA, Vice President, Sr. Business Consultant at J.P. Morgan Chase

By Josaline Cuesta, California Program Director, Small Business Majority

Entrepreneurship is essential to a thriving and equitable economy. Yet, too many of our smallest businesses—especially those owned by people of color, women, rural business owners, and other under-resourced communities—face significant hurdles in accessing capital from banks and other traditional financial institutions.

Small Business Majority prides itself on partnering with experts in the field to mitigate the unnecessary impacts of inequitable access to capital and help to break down systematic barriers.

Peter E. Jackson, MBA is Vice President, Sr. Business Consultant at J.P. Morgan Chase. His work in California has been integral to creating pathways for minority and women entrepreneurs to access capital successfully. I sat down with Peter for a Q&A to discuss his experiences, share his expertise and tips, and learn more about expanded opportunities for capital in a unique community.

Do you believe there is a barrier to accessing responsible capital for small business owners? If yes, do you believe that a certain group of small business owners are more susceptible to experiencing challenges? Why?

From where I sit, one of the biggest hurdles facing minority small businesses is access to financial education. Many Black and Latino business owners we work with through the Chase mentorship program, believe it or not, cite access to education as their top need, e.g., understanding working capital, credit readiness, financial planning, managing debt and cash flow, etc. Working knowledge of these principles is the foundation of building a small business. That means having your bookkeeping and financial operations to help you make your best case when seeking funding/capital from any lender. Not having this in order may delay any financing for your business. There are also questions to ask yourself, e.g. ‘Am I in a healthy financial position to pay back a loan or is a bank loan the right financing option for my business needs at this time?’ This is where a banking relationship or banker can come in handy.

Often, minority entrepreneurs may not have had the best relationship with a bank or may not have had a parent or close individual to seek guidance from related to entrepreneurship – the list goes on. The pandemic exacerbated many of the underlying racial disparities that already existed in the U.S., including the banking system. As a firm, we recognize these challenges and do everything we can to address them.

In 2020, JPMorgan Chase announced a $30 billion racial equity commitment to create an inclusive economic recovery and help Black and Latino small businesses, families, and local communities create and sustain generational wealth. We’re creating the infrastructure to help more minority-owned businesses grow and recover through new programs, products, and hiring. This service is free, and business owners do not have to be Chase customers to receive coaching and mentorship.

Information about the JP Morgan Chase Minority Owned – Business Program is available at: https://www.chase.com/es/business/minority-businesses

What stories have you heard about the ease of accessing capital for small business owners? Can you please share a few typical challenges and some success stories? Did any success stories involve innovation? Did owners have to think outside the box to gain continued access to capital?

Yes, thinking out of the box is an everyday part of what we as Sr. Business Consultants do. Every business owner comes from a different place financially and operates their business differently. An example of this was a local smoothie bar owned by a Latina entrepreneur in Fontana, California. I discussed her goals and challenges, and she needed to obtain a small working capital loan to hire a part-time employee to extend her business hours and add signage. I helped her calculate and understand her break-even to determine the right price she needed to charge for her product to be able to pay for an additional employee and add a sign to the front of her store. This was important because she established new sales goals to drive more revenue. Also, the loan underwriter could see her business now had sufficient income capacity to borrow and pay back a loan by charging enough to support the loan payment. Business owners often borrow without a plan to demonstrate they can repay the loan or without consulting their CPA to ensure they leave enough money in their business to borrow. Part of my role is to help small business owners understand their business finances and how to leverage them to scale and grow their businesses.

What are some ways to increase small business funding to expand access to capital?

From JPMorgan Chase’s standpoint, here’s what we are doing to expand access to capital for underrepresented communities. We have committed $396 million (page 23-25) in small business philanthropy to grow Black, Hispanic and women-owned small businesses and create a more inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

  • ~$42.5 million to expand the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund (EOCF) in more U.S. cities, the program will offer low-cost loans and technical assistance to small businesses through LISC and CFDI network
  • Philanthropic investments to build the capacity of diverse-led nonprofits across the globe and support the signature Ascend Program
  • Policy solutions through the JPMorgan Chase Policy Center to improve U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) program to better meet the needs of minority- and women-owned small businesses.

Within Business Banking, we plan to provide an additional 15,000 loans -totaling $2 billion- to small businesses in majority-Black, -Hispanic and Latino communities over the next five years. To further expand access to credit to minority business owners, we’re:

  • Exploring targeted adjustments to how the firm evaluates credit applications
  • Introducing new products, including a digital lending platform, to better support the needs of small Black, Hispanic and Latino-owned businesses seeking quick access to capital.

What are some of your recommended, trusted community resources or training opportunities within the Inland Empire that will help with understanding ways to access legitimate capital?

  • Mentorship, dedicated coaching, and education are critical to helping people get credit ready. Look into Chase’s 1:1 coaching for minority entrepreneurs across 21 U.S. cities, where they work with a senior business consultant to help them scale. Visit www.chase.com/businessconsultant to learn more.
  • Visit the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE), an SBDC program within California State University, San Bernardino, which delivers a wide range of programs, technical assistance, and services to existing small business owners or aspiring entrepreneurs in the community. Every state has a small business development center offered through U.S. SBA and colleges/universities.
  • Lastly, I think AmPac, UCR, and the University of La Verne also have some of the strongest community resources that speak to access to capital, readiness, training, grant programs, microfinancing, etc.

Peter will join other financial experts for a Small Business Majority hosted event on September 14, 5:30pm PT. “Breaking Barriers: Accessing capital as women business owners of color” is a free event to learn tips for remaining resilient in business and how to navigate non-predatory debt financing options that will help grow or strengthen your woman-owned small business to help build generational wealth.

Register for this event here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/breaking-barriers-accessing-capital-as-women-business-owners-of-color-registration-393175316957

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Stater Bros. Markets Appoints Rebecca Calvin to Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer

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Stater Bros. Markets is pleased to announce the appointment of Rebecca Calvin to the role of Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, due to the upcoming retirement of the company’s well-respected and current Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Dennis McIntyre. She will report to Chief Executive Officer Pete Van Helden and serve on the company’s Executive Leadership Team. She will begin her new role on Monday, September 26, 2022.

Calvin will lead the company’s marketing efforts which include the Sales and Merchandising, Integrated Marketing, eCommerce, and Food Strategy and Innovation departments. She will be responsible for strengthening Stater Bros.’ ability to meet the evolving needs of grocery shoppers in the diverse Southern California market through smart and effective product, pricing, and promotion strategies.

“I am very excited that Rebecca has chosen to join the Stater Bros. team and I look forward to working side-by-side with her to make Stater Bros. the premier shopping destination for groceries in Southern California,” said Stater Bros. CEO Pete Van Helden. “On behalf of all our teammates, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Dennis for nearly 45 years of dedicated service to our company. His passion and enthusiasm have made a significant impact on the current and future success of Stater Bros.”

Calvin arrives at Stater Bros. with several years of experience in the grocery industry, most recently serving as Senior Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer at The Save Mart Companies, where she led merchandising, space planning, pricing and promotion execution, and their private label program. Before joining The Save Mart Companies, she began her career in the grocery industry with Daymon Worldwide as a category buyer. She served as Vice President of Grocery, Frozen, and Dairy at Mariano’s before continuing on to merchandising and category management roles in the Kroger family of companies.

Calvin graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology with a Minor in Business Administration and is a graduate of the Cornell University Food Executive Program. She has earned a Six Sigma Green Belt Certification and currently serves on the Western Association of Food Chains (WAFC) Board of Directors. Earlier this year, Calvin was recognized as one of Retail Today’s “50 Outstanding Women in Retail.”

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