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In 2011, Chef's Toys reported sales of $19.45 million, making it the 58th largest dealer in the country, according to FE&S' Distribution Giants Study. Star reported annual revenues of $9.8 million for 2011, making it the 95th largest dealer in the country.
As a result of this deal, former Star president Les Birken will retire, acting in an advisory capacity to Chef's Toys. "We've known Les Birken for a number of years. He's been a friend and a mentor," said Chef's Toys' Steve Dickler. "We have served together on committees within PRIDE, our buying group, so there was mutual trust and respect. He wanted to retire and asked us if we were interested in buying the company."
At this point, there are no plans to change the way Star goes to market. The majority of Star's business is cash and carry, Dickler said. Star does a large number of transactions with consumers who visit the dealership to buy glassware, pots, etc. And the company does a lot of traditional dealer work. "They bid on projects, like school foodservice and restaurants, and see the projects through. They are pretty diversified and the only I don't see much of is healthcare," Dickler said.
Dickler sees some equity in the Star brand and has no plans to change the name at this point. "It's been going strong for 50 years," he said. "But we may cross-brand on invoices and other areas." He added that all of Star's employees will remain with the company and the location will be managed by Raulie Treadway and Noah Ryskind.
As a result of this transaction, Chef's Toys now has four locations in southern California: Anaheim, Fountain Valley, Torrance and Van Nuys. The proximity factor will help the dealership and its customers on a variety of levels. "This keeps a 45 minute ride between each location in a very densely populated part of the country," Dickler said. "Plus, we buy from the same suppliers. We both have customers up and down the coast that we can serve better together."