Gold Acquired; Staying, Expanding on LI

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Gold Acquired; Staying, Expanding on LI

A Vermont cracker manufacturer has acquired Hempstead-based condiment maker Gold Pure Food Products. Terms of the deal that closed on July 31 were not disclosed.

Gold’s and the Westminster Cracker Company of Rutland, Vt., which is owned by Chicago-based LaSalle Capital Group, will be folded under a new company called Westminster Foods, also controlled by LaSalle.

Westminster CEO Bob Abramowitz said the new company has no plans to move Gold’s Long Island operations, where the 83-year-old horseradish specialist employs about 70 people. Instead, Abramowitz said the plan is to expand Gold’s brand and reach and add even more employees. He wouldn’t comment on whether the company will seek economic incentives from local industrial development agencies for the expansion, in which LaSalle will invest “several million dollars” to modernize and grow the Gold’s facility.

LaSalle acquired Westminster Cracker Company in 2009 and Abramowitz said the company has since doubled in size. He hopes to do the same with Gold’s.

“We intend to grow the business,” Abramowitz told LIBN.

The Gold family will still be involved in the company. Marc Gold and Steve Gold will remain as consultants and investors in the new firm, while Melissa Gold and Shaun Gold will stay on as employees.

Over the years, the Golds have rejected dozens of takeover offers from corporate suitors looking to squeeze the condiment champ into their portfolios. But Marc Gold said this seemed like the right deal.

“He wants to maintain the legacy of Gold’s,” Gold said of the new CEO.

The company has come a long way from Hyman and Tillie Gold’s odorous kitchen in their second floor walk-up on Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn, where the Gold grandparents ground, mixed and bottled the horseradish they sold to delis and grocers from a pushcart.

When the business outgrew their apartment, the Golds opened a small plant on 18th Avenue and later relocated to a 17,000-square-foot building on McDonald Avenue in nearby Borough Park, where the company was headed by Hyman and Tillie’s children: Morris Gold and his brothers Herbert and Manny. Looking to expand their cramped factory, Gold’s relocated to Hempstead in 1994, purchasing a building from Global Equipment.

Tillie Gold’s simple recipe for the company’s best-seller – ground horseradish, vinegar and salt – hasn’t been altered in 83 years. The company gets most of its horseradish roots – several million pounds a year – from farms in Southern Illinois. Gold’s is also one of the country’s largest user of beets, which it gets from farms in upstate New York.

At its 70,000-square-foot Hempstead plant, Gold’s can crank out 140 jars of horseradish in one minute. Gold also makes 10 different kinds of mustard, prepared daily and pumped through a 300-gallon vat. Gold’s is the official mustard of several area sports teams and arenas, including the New York Mets and Islanders, the Long Island Ducks, Brooklyn Cyclones and Staten Island Yankees, Madison Square Garden, Barclay’s Center and Fenway Park.

Besides horseradish and mustard, Gold’s also makes four varieties of duck sauce, several kinds of borsht, salsa and barbecue sauce. The company is licensed to make mustard for Nathan’s and makes mustard and other products for other popular brand names.