Navis Food Partners Formed to Build Independent Foodservice Distribution Platform in the Northeast

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Navis Food Partners, a newly formed holding company focused on building a premier independent foodservice distribution platform in the Northeast, announced its official launch today.


Navis Food Partners made its inaugural acquisition in August 2023 with the purchase of City Line Distributors, the top independent full-service foodservice distributor based in New England, serving Southern New England and Eastern NY.

With City Line Distributors as its foundational acquisition, Navis Food Partners aims to establish an industry-leading foodservice distribution platform serving independent customer channels across the region.

“We are thrilled to announce the formation of Navis Food Partners as the next stage of our partnership with the team at Frontenac,” said Robert Berkowitz the CEO of Navis Food Partners. “Our vision is to create a best-in-class foodservice distribution platform that delivers exceptional service and value to our independent restaurant operators throughout the Northeast. Our belief is that the independent operators in the region need a distribution relationship with companies that share their values – service, speed to action and value – and we believe with City Line Distributors as our foundation, and with Frontenac as our partner, we are well positioned to earn that relationship.”

Navis Food Partners’ strategy is centered around acquiring complementary companies with unique capabilities, expanding the platform both geographically and across categories.

Navis Food Partners’ operating model is to maintain the people and brand that built the success of these companies in the communities they serve. Unlike other larger entities seeking to acquire, consolidate and fold in acquisitions, Navis Food Partners’ model is to enhance the existing brand and co-create a value creation plan in partnership with the local leadership team.

“Navis Food Partners aims to build a comprehensive distribution network of companies that meet the evolving needs of their customers while delivering operational excellence and superior customer service. The Northeast marketplace is renown for its robust independent food venues and it’s time for these operators to have greater choice of distribution partners who can meet both their service and value needs,” said Sean Griffin, Executive Chairman.

“We are excited to launch this next stage of our partnership with industry veterans Robert Berkowitz and Sean Griffin on this transformative journey,” said Betsy Williamson, Managing Director at Frontenac. “Navis Food’s commitment to innovation, customer service, and operational excellence aligns closely with Frontenac’s investment ethos. Together we aspire to drive growth and build a leading platform in the Northeast foodservice distribution market.”

Navis Food Partners understands how critical it is to support its companies with experienced foodservice operating executives. Combined, CEO Robert Berkowitz and Executive Chairman Sean Griffin bring over 80 years of operating experience leading foodservice companies in the Northeast marketplace.

In addition to Robert and Sean, Paul Green and Steve Humphreys joined the board of directors. Paul Green, retired Chief Supply Chain Officer of UNFI and President of UNFI Fresh, has expertise in supply chain and operational excellence over his 45 years in the industry will be a valuable resource to the company’s leadership teams. Steve Humphreys, retired US Foodservice West Region President, also has over 40 years of foodservice distribution experience with a particular expertise in commercial functions including sales, category management and procurement.

The partnership between Navis Food Partners and Frontenac brings together deep industry expertise and financial strength to drive strategic growth and value creation in this new regional platform. Combined, the Board of Directors has over 150 years of foodservice distribution experience with over 120 years in the Northeast market.

Opportunities

Navis Food Partners invites inquiries from interested Northeast-based independent foodservice distributors who may wish to explore joining our mission of creating this dynamic and customer-centric enterprise.

For more information about Navis Food Partners, please contact Robert Berkowitz at rberkowitz@citylinefoods.com or sean@griffinadvisers.com

About Frontenac

Frontenac is a Chicago-based private equity firm. The firm focuses on investing in lower middle market buyout transactions in the consumer, industrial, and services industries. Frontenac works in partnership with established operating leaders, through an executive-centric approach called CEO1ST®, which seeks to identify, acquire, and build market-leading companies through transformational acquisitions and operational excellence. Over the last 50+ years, Frontenac has built a franchise working with over 300 owners of mid-sized businesses as they address complex transition issues of liquidity, management enhancement, and growth planning. For more information, please visit www.frontenac.com.

Contacts

rberkowitz@citylinefoods.com
or

sean@griffinadvisers.com