CHATTANOOGA, TENN. — McKee Foods Corp. has acquired Prairie City Bakery, a Vernon Hill, Ill.-based provider of fully-baked, thaw-and-sell bakery solutions for the convenience store, food service and in-story bakery channels. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Prairie City Bakery was co-founded in 1994 by Bill Skeens, the company’s current chief executive officer. The company started with one product — muffin tops. In mid-1997, Prairie City Bakery got a boost when an episode of the television show “Seinfeld” aired that made muffin tops instantly famous. In the episode, Elaine Benes tells her former boss that she only eats the tops of muffins and suggests the idea to open a store that sells muffin tops only. The boss steals the idea, launching a business called Top of the Muffin to You! Additional hilarity ensues. And the marketing gods smiled down on Prairie City.
“What I had been trying to do for six years, ‘Seinfeld’ did overnight,” Mr. Skeens told bake, a sister publication of Milling & Baking News, during an April 2018 interview.
Today, Prairie City Bakery offers 125 varieties of individually-wrapped and bulk food service products, including cinnamon rolls, Danish, cookies, donuts, donut holes in a cup, brownies and Ooey Gooey Butter Cakes.
“We sought to acquire Prairie City Bakery because they built a great brand with quality, innovative products that satisfy specific retail customer needs,” said Mike McKee, president and c.e.o. of McKee Foods. “We want to continue that success by following the same great strategy with the same great management team. We are excited to continue building on this success. We welcome Prairie City Bakery to the McKee Foods family of brands.”
McKee Foods said it will continue to use the Prairie City Bakery brand name and the company’s existing distribution channels. Additionally, the company will retain all Prairie City Bakery employees and existing Vernon Hills offices.
“I believe Prairie City Bakery is a perfect fit for McKee Foods,” Mr. Skeens said. “They share the same values regarding their commitment to quality products, serving their customers and supporting all the good people who support and work for McKee Foods.”