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Private investors acquire natural chain Mother's Market

Private investment firm Mill Road Capital has acquired Mother's Market & Kitchen, a California-based natural food chain with seven stores.

Mother’s Market, based in Costa Mesa, Calif., said the investment could help the company expand to additional sites.

“Our intention is to preserve all that is wonderful about Mother's and add the kind of expertise and experience that will allow growth and continue the culture that our customers, employees, vendors and communities have embraced for 38 years,” the company’s board said in a statement.

San Francisco-based Mill Road's other investments include Rubio’s Restaurants and Galaxy Nutritional Foods, a leading vegan cheese maker.

According to Jay Jacobowitz, founder and president of Brattleboro, Vt.-based natural products consultant Retail Insights, Mill Road requires investors “lock in” for 10 years, which would allow the firm to take a long view on growth for the chain. Jacobowitz estimated Mother’s did between $300 million and $450 million in annual sales adding the chain is well-regarded for high product standards, foodservice and merchandising, as well as excellent real estate sites in Orange County.


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“I don’t think you’ll see the metastasizing growth like a Chipotle or a Starbucks,” Jacobowitz said. “I think you’ll see something along the lines of a Cheesecake Factory, which chooses its real estate extremely carefully.”

Mother's said its founder, Bruce Macgurn, who died following a brief illness late last year, was instrumental in the process of selecting an investment partner.

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