Two local food companies are combining forces, hoping for more growth in 2021. In a deal announced this week, sandwich chain Homegrown has bought the Pike Place-based touring company Savor Seattle. Though exact details of the purchase price were not released, Homegrown will keep the Savor Seattle name and the majority of its small team in place, while Savor Seattle’s CEO Angela Shen will receive royalties over the coming years.
The acquisition should help both organizations build on significant strategic shifts during the pandemic. In 2020, Homegrown — which had made a name for itself mostly as a fast-casual sandwich franchise with an emphasis on local sourcing — launched an online grocery store called Homegrown Goods. The new service offers delivery on a selection of pantry staples and other items, mainly by Seattle-based purveyors, and has recently added meal kits to the mix. CEO Brad Gillis tells Eater Seattle the effort has been successful, and they are looking to add more offerings in 2021 and expand its imprint.
Meanwhile, Savor Seattle moved away from its Pike Place touring roots to curating a selection of food boxes that features products from local vendors and restaurants, while donating a portion of sales to charities. Overall, the company — which has been around for 13 years and has six employees — had sold more than 20,000 boxes in 2020, with more than $100,000 going to nonprofits.
But Savor Seattle wasn’t quite set up to sustain the boxes in the long term and had been looking for ways to continue its adjustments ever since COVID-19 devastated the hospitality industry. Shen tells Eater Seattle that Homegrown’s food distribution infrastructure and shared values were appealing, and felt that a sale would ultimately help Savor Seattle thrive, as the touring aspect of the business will not return, even post-pandemic.
She and Gillis had talked on and off for six months, and a deal started to come together in early November. There is “no integration strategy yet,” says Gillis, but the possibility for both companies to explore other markets besides Seattle has emerged.
“Out of adversity, we managed to more than double our business while helping our broader small business food community,” says Shen, who will take a step back from running the business, while staying on in an advisory role. “I am looking forward to seeing what opportunities 2021 brings.”