The Save Mart Companies announced Monday that it has been acquired by Kingswood Capital Management LP, an operationally focused private equity firm based in Los Angeles with significant experience in the retail sector. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Headquartered in Modesto, Calif., The Save Mart Companies operates 204 stores under the banners of Save Mart, Lucky California and FoodMaxx, and serves communities throughout California and Northern Nevada. In addition to its retail operation, the company also operates SMART Refrigerated Transport and is a partner in Super Store Industries, which owns and operates a distribution center in Lathrop, and the Sunnyside Farms dairy processing plant in Turlock.
The company was founded by Nick Tocco and Mike Piccinini in 1952, and run by the Piccininis as California’s largest family-owned grocer up until today’s acquisition.
“I’m excited for this opportunity with Kingswood to invest in and grow The Save Mart Companies family of stores,” said Chris McGarry (left), who was named CEO of The Save Mart Companies in January 2021. “The Piccinini family did a tremendous job in fostering a commitment to innovation and service as they built and grew this company in the Central Valley and throughout California. As a result, we have great stores and a committed team of 14,000 employees who provide fantastic local products and are wonderful stewards of the communities in which they live and work. While this change in ownership will be transparent to our team and customers, we know that this investment will benefit them and the communities we serve.”
With the addition of The Save Mart Companies, Kingswood expands its existing Northern California presence. The firm owns Alameda-based Cost Plus World Market, which it acquired in January 2021 from Bed Bath and Beyond, and Mare Island-based Lind Marine, a diversified marine services business headquartered north of the San Francisco Bay, which it recapitalized in January 2022.
“At Kingswood, our goal is to make good businesses even better, and The Save Mart Companies presents us with a great opportunity to do so,” said Alex Wolf, managing partner and founder of Kingswood. “Their 70 years of history in the Central Valley provides a strong foundation for future profitable growth, and we look forward to working with Chris and the team to position these iconic grocery brands for the future.”
Kirkland and Ellis LLP served as legal advisor to Kingswood on the transaction. Sheppard Mullin served as legal advisor to Save Mart. Scott Moses from Solomon Partners and North Point acted as financial advisors to Save Mart.
“It has been an honor to work with CEO Chris McGarry and the exceptional Save Mart leadership team on this important transaction that preserves the unique legacy built by the Piccinini family and the company’s 14,000 employees, who have tirelessly served their communities over the past two-plus years during the pandemic," said Moses.